GPs must be ‘appropriately remunerated for extra work’

Head and neck surgeon Ms Camilla Carroll told IMT the delay in resolving the pay dispute was hampering the roll-out of her project, which teaches ENT skills to primary care professionals

A leading ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon has weighed into the general practitioner (GP) contract saga by saying it was unfair to expect GPs to do extra work if they are “not being appropriately remunerated”.

Head and neck surgeon Ms Camilla Carroll made her comments as it emerged that Department of Health (DoH) officials were set to meet on Tuesday, January 22, with the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) for the first time in 2019, as talks over the new GP contract continue.

Ms Carroll told the Irish Medical Times the delay in resolving the long-running pay dispute was hampering the roll-out of her award-winning project which teaches ENT skills to primary care professionals.

The Integration of Ear Microsuction into Primary Care, and Educational Model project was named Educational Project of the Year in General Practice/Pharmacy at the Irish Healthcare Awards 2018.
Ms Carroll and her coll­eagues have, so far, taught more than 100 healthcare profess­ionals how to see, treat and manage non-complex ENT conditions since the course was launched two years ago.
She believes that national roll-out of the programme could lead to a 70 per cent reduction in the ENT waiting list, which at present is approximately 67,000.

Notwithstanding the positive publicity her course received after it won last October, she warned that the DoH’s failure to agree a GP contract was putting many family doctors off learning new skills.

Ms Carroll, who is based at Dublin’s Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, said: “One of the benefits of the Irish Healthcare Awards is to show what is happening in the good news end of the HSE.

“When these things are published and people read them, they then realise ‘well actually maybe I would be interested in doing that course’.

“So we have had a lot of GP/primary care practices contacting us, looking to sign up and get involved in the training…

“Like everything else, we have our skills, we have our ability but we again have issues with resources.

“And the resource issue here is in relation to funding practitioners to do this work.

“To date, there have been ongoing conversations with the Department of Health surrounding the GP contract…

“So that is a continuing conversation that we as hospital-­based professionals are having with the Department of Health and Irish College of General Practitioners to ensure that when we do train and upskill people who are capable of doing this work, they are also going to be remunerated appropriately because the benefit, at the end, is for the patient,” she added.

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