The ICGP’s pre-Budget submission 2023 has highlighted the growing pressures on GP practices following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The College has pointed out the “considerable flexibility and innovation” GPs showed in adapting to the healthcare crisis, including vaccinating over 50 per cent of the first vaccine boosters in December 2021.
The Chairman of the ICGP, Dr John Farrell said: “We have almost 4,000 GPs working in general practice. However, the number due to retire is growing, and we don’t have enough GPs to replace the retiring GPs and plan for the expanding population.
“Our statistics show that 5 per cent of our GPs are over 70 years of age, 14 per cent are over 65 years of age, and 25 per cent are over 60 years of age.
“These figures show that we face serious shortages of GPs as they retire, and we know from our survey that the next generation of GPs wants to work in bigger practices in urban areas.”
The CEO of the ICGP, Mr Fintan Foy, said: “The ICGP’s data is mirrored by the Irish Medical Council, whose recently published Medical Workforce Intelligence Report identifies a 42 per cent deficit in GP numbers in Ireland.”
Mr Foy reiterated the ICGP’s call for a Ministerial Working Group on Future General Practice, to help plan for this shortage and find innovative solutions to the workforce crisis.
President of the ICGP, Dr Paul Armstrong said: “The ICGP has responded to the impending shortage by rapidly expanding the numbers of GPs in training, with a 70 per cent increase in training numbers since 2017. We plan to have 350 training places by 2026, but this will not meet the expected demand.”.GP services have grown under the Chronic Disease Management Programme, and the expansion of free GP care for the under 6s.