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Call for general practice to be ‘at heart’ of HSE reform

Earlier this week, the Minister announced his plans to reconstitute the Board of the HSE. This followed governance and accountability issues identified by the CervicalCheck controversy.

The ICGP’s incoming President Dr John O’Brien said: “General practice carries out 25 million consultations every year in Ireland, and provides open access to the entire population to a cradle-to-grave service. General practitioners deal with the complete span of human illnesses and diseases along with a myriad of psychosocial and other problems people bring to their doctors.

“In contrast to the HSE’s silo-based approach to the delivery of services, general practice runs a holistic team of doctors, nurses and practice staff in an efficient and flexible model of care. However, this model is under threat due to retention and recruitment issues, and the damage created by the FEMPI cuts imposed during the recession,’ Dr O’Brien said.

“The Minister for Health must ensure that general practitioners are placed at the heart of the reformed HSE. We remind him that since the primary care strategy was published 18 years ago, there are only a handful of functioning primary care teams, and very little integration with general practice.”

“The Sláintecare report highlights that sufficient resourcing of primary care is essential. Currently, general practice receives just 4 per cent of the health budget – this should be closer to 10 per cent to reflect international practices, and enable doctors to provide a well-resourced service at community level,” Dr O’Brien added.

World Family Doctor Day– 19 May – is a day to highlight the role and contribution of family doctors in healthcare systems around the world. The event is an opportunity to acknowledge the central role of the specialty in the delivery of personal, comprehensive and continuing healthcare for all of our patients. It is also a chance to celebrate the progress being made in family medicine and the special contributions of family doctors globally.

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