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GP visit card extension ‘socially progressive’ but will increase surgery waits – ICGP

A €25 increase in the weekly income threshold for GP visit cards was announced by Government earlier today.

“Already we have up to half of all practices saying they cannot take on any new patients because of the shortage of GPs,” said Dr John O’Brien, President of the ICGP. “We know that the extension of the free GP Visit card will help more families see a GP, but it will lead to an increased demand, and longer waiting times for patients.”

“We need to double the existing health spend of 2–3 per cent on general practice in the health budget to properly resource the development of community-based chronic illness management. We need more doctors, we need to retain doctors and we need more nurses and a better IT infrastructure, with more streamlined services,” Dr O’Brien added.

In its pre-Budget submission, the ICGP called for increased capacity in general practice and primary care; reversal of cutbacks to GMS income; properly-resourced community-based chronic illness management; resourcing more training places, alongside retention measures; and a new GP contract.

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