Outspoken GP says she can’t give free care
CIARA KELLY HIGHLIGHTS ‘GAGGING CLAUSE’ IN HSE CONTRACT
GREYSTONES-BASED Dr. Ciara Kelly says she couldn’t provide free GP care to children under six in accordance with new Government proposals if she wanted to, because she has been outspoken against the HSE.
In section 28.4.4 of the draft contract of Health Minister James O’Reilly’s initiative there is what Dr. Kelly has called a ‘gagging clause’.
‘ The Service Provider shall not do anything to prejudice the name or reputation of the HSE,’ reads the section.
‘ The gagging clause is part of the “Under 6 Contract” – I will never get an “Under 6 Contract”, because I’m grossly critical of the HSE all the time in The Sunday Independent,’ said the ‘ Operation Transformation’ team member.
‘We have been gagged. They are no longer going to let us be GP advocates for our patients. They have a gagging clause to prevent whistle-blowing in that contract. So, I could never criticise the HSE without losing my contract. We have seen very recently in this country the value of whistleblowers. I will never sign a contract that prevents me, or forbids me from speaking out if I see something wrong happening to my patient, I don’t trust the HSE – Im sorry!’
The mother-of-four revealed that her own income from her practice has fallen by 46 per cent and she has worked extra hours in other practices and hospitals at night in order to make ends meet. ‘My mortgage fell into arrears for the first time last year,’ she said.
Dr. Kelly said last week that she cannot provide care to patients at €7 or €8 per month.
‘I passionately care about my patients but we cannot provide a service on a shoestring. Ultimately patient care will suffer.’
Dr. Kelly spoke at a meeting in Dublin’s Burlington Hotel attended by several hundred GPs and organised by The National Association of General Practitioners.