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IMO reacts to reports of delay in universal free GP care plans

The Chairman of the GP Committee of the IMO, Dr Padraig McGarry responded to the reports that are based on a Department of Health memo prepared for Cabinet last week.

“The IMO has warned for many years and it has been stated IMO policy that the introduction of age based universal care is not justified on healthcare grounds and was not practical in the current environment,” said Dr McGarry.

“The Government has created a crisis in general practice by the scandalous FEMPI cuts and by the failure to adequately resource GP services. With almost 700 GPs preparing to retire in the coming years and with patients already finding it impossible to register with overworked GPs the Government needs to urgently address this crisis and set out a coherent, costed plan to save general practice before it’s too late.

“What we urgently need now is the unwinding of cuts imposed on GPs under FEMPI and a new contract to underpin GP services. No further effort should be made to roll out new services until a new contract for existing patients is in place.”

Dr McGarry said these actions should be followed up by what he called a “measured programme” of initiatives to roll out additional GP services which are based on medical need.

“General practice has been one of the outstanding strengths of the Irish healthcare service. However it is now in peril and the Government must move quickly and urgently if it is to be protected.”

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