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Speaking today, Dr Mark Murphy, Chair of Communications, ICGP said: “Budget 2017 is very disappointing for Irish general practice. Both patients and the taxpayer will suffer as the most cost-effective component of the healthcare system has been bypassed once again. None of the key issues affecting general practice have been addressed.”
In its pre-budget submission, ICGP outlined the “crisis” which has enveloped Irish general practice. The key issues identified by the ICGP include a significant shortage of GPs, marked under-resourcing, an outdated contract, lack of investment in chronic care, underinvestment in IT and physical infrastructure, under-resourcing of primary care colleagues such as psychologists, and a fragmented healthcare environment.
Dr Murphy said, “Providing 10,000 children with a domiciliary care allowance medical card is certainly welcome. But overall, patients need to see a commitment that Irish general practice will be invested in.
“GPs have no reassurances that these issues will be addressed. To date, there has been plenty of rhetoric about the importance of new contract negotiations but no specific timeline is in place for this. Words do not mean anything to patients wanting to receive care in the community or on waiting lists for medical treatment. Reversal of FEMPI and ring-fenced resources put aside for the negotiation of a new GP contract are a priority and this budget failed to deliver.”
The budget will not reassure GPs in Canada, the UK and Australia that they should return home and “may even force more Irish GPs to leave”, he added.