Medics get more time to remove treatment threat
THE Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has been given an extension until noon on Monday to remove a press release warning that GPs are to withdraw from some services.
The order was issued by the Competition Authority and was due to expire yesterday. The doctors' trade union appealed for an extension until Wednesday but the watchdog would only grant it until Monday.
The authority has found fault with the IMO's press release issued earlier this week saying GPs should no longer take part in primary-care teams. They are also to step down from teams facilitating the early hospital discharge of some patients as well as chronic-disease programmes.
The doctors have argued they are within their rights to take these actions for services outside their medical-card contract in protest at a cut in state fees.
The Competition Authority said: "Withdrawing services, regardless of claims that they may be free or pro bono, is viewed as an attempt to directly or indirectly fix the fees that are paid to GPs by the Government under the GMS contract.
"Self-employed GPs are subject to competition law, as they are private businesses."
The IMO said the matters raised were complex and required detailed consideration by the IMO and its legal advisers. It asked for the extension to prepare a response. A spokesman said it had no further comment to make.