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GPs express mixed feelings on eve of ‘massive paradigm shift’

Earlier this month, the NAGP AGM heard from Oireachtas Committee member Dr Michael Harty TD, who outlined some of the content of the imminent report.

However, there were sharply divergent reactions to the anticipated report expressed by some of the NAGP’s National Executive. Speaking at the NAGP AGM, Executive member Dr Ronan Fawsitt said the “profession need to get behind this if we can”. However, fellow Executive member Dr Stephen Murphy said the report was “political aspirational nonsense” and, in his view, would not work.

Speaking to MI at the NAGP AGM, President Dr Emmet Kerin said some concerns were to be anticipated, given the significant changes expected to be proposed in relation to the health service and primary care.

“Yes absolutely, I suppose it is something that is undefined at the moment, something that is not costed, it is a massive paradigm shift in how we operate,” said Dr Kerin.

“I think the fear of some in the room last night [following Dr Harty’s presentation] was maybe it was general practice or primary care itself that is going to have the major reform and that nothing would happen in secondary care.”

However, Dr Kerin said it would be “foolish” to reject the plan before looking at its details.

“I respect the work that has gone into this,” said Dr Kerin, who added that it is important “to take politics out of health”.

He highlighted the need for “transformational funding to make this happen”.

“There is a high political risk to making that change; not everyone is going to like everything in this report, including myself probably,” said Dr Kerin.

“But immediate investment in general practice needs to happen to get it funded and functioning.”

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