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Prof Garry Courtney, HSE Acute Medicine Programme (AMP) Joint Clinical Lead, was speaking to MI on the wider role that community or district hospitals play in the health system.
In the context of widening the services provided in these hospitals, Prof Courtney said GPs have a role to play.
“I think the new GP contract could [have] a bit more community care, a bit more chronic disease management in the community from GPs,” he told MI.
“Now, they would have to be paid for it and supplied with resources. But acute hospitals don’t do chronic disease management very well and it’s an expensive way of doing chronic disease management in acute hospitals when you are using up bed days that could be used for surgery waiting lists, getting patients off trolleys, etc.”
GMS contract negotiations are continuing between the IMO and officials at the Department of Health and HSE.
Prof Courtney said that as part of the AMP, the Model 1 hospitals are “vital” to the health service.
However, he did add that significant challenges in regard to building standards remain for some Model 1 hospitals.
Former NAGP Secretary and Seanad candidate Dr Keith Swanick said that district hospitals should not be seen as “relics from the past” and called for increased funding in the area.