Out­spo­ken GP says she can’t give free care

CIARA KELLY HIGH­LIGHTS ‘GAG­GING CLAUSE’ IN HSE CON­TRACT

Bray People - - NEWS - MARY FOG­A­RTY

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.

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