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Out-of-hours shifts are tempting GPs

Between 60 and 70 per cent of GPs in Northern Ireland plan to do shifts for out-of-hours providers under the new contract, estimates suggest.

The figure is well above predictions for the rest of the UK. GP co-operatives in England, Scotland and Wales have estimated between 25 and 50 per cent of GPs will sell their services back.

GPC Northern Ireland chair Dr Brian Dunn said GPs were tempted by being able to include the pay in superannuable earnings.

'They are looking forward to earning money without paying co-op bills,' he said. 'They expect to be paid much better as well.'

Dr Eugene Deeny, chair of the western LMC, said up to 90 per cent of GPs in his area expect to work shifts in anticipation of 'radically improved' working conditions.

'In the new system triage will be taken over by trained personnel and GPs can investigate genuine out-of-hours problems without dealing with trivia,' he said.

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