Irish Medical Organisation

IMO warns that new GP Contract seeks to outlaw “whistleblowers” in the health services

“Gagging clause” in draft new GP contract contradicts Minister for Health’s professed support for whistleblowers on Morning Ireland.

Monday 24th March 2014. The IMO has accused the Minister for Health of hypocrisy by claiming to be in favour of whistleblowers at the same time as he is trying impose by diktat a new contract on GPs which includes a “gagging clause” that will prevent GP whistleblowers from drawing attention to HSE mistakes - even where there is a threat to patient safety.

The Chairman of the GP Committee of the IMO, Dr. Ray Walley, has said that the contract that has been circulated by the Minister’s Department directly contradicts his pro-whistleblower sentiments as stated on radio (Morning Ireland) this morning. Dr. Walley said; “the Minister says he is in favour of whistleblowers but his Department is promoting a contract which is in direct contradiction of the

Minister’s words this morning. This raises serious concerns about how much – if any – involvement the Minister for Health has had in relation to this proposed contract which is an attempt to fundamentally alter the relationship between GPs and the HSE.”
The draft contract includes the following provision.

28.4.4: The Service Provider (GP) shall not do anything to prejudice the name or reputation of the HSE.” [our underlining]

Dr. Walley said; “This is little more than a gagging clause which would prevent a GP from highlighting cases of wrong doing and effectively stops GPs advocating for their patients. This clause is just one of a number of major flaws in the proposed new GP contract which in our view will not deliver an equitable or sustainable service to patients. We are repeating our demand for urgent, comprehensive negotiations on the Minister’s plans for the revised GP contract for all patients not just Under 6s. Government plans for a GP service which is free at the point of entry requires planning, resources and negotiations and the IMO, as the Trade Union and holder of a negotiating licence, is ready to have full and comprehensive negotiations with the Minister on these critical health policy changes.”


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