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The Association welcomed comments made today by HSE Director General Tony O’Brien, that a redesign of the health service is required with a decisive shift to general practice and primary care. Mr O’Brien also reiterated his previous statement that there needs to be transitional investment to build up primary care to support this change.
Mr Chris Goodey, NAGP CEO, said: “A fundamental shift to GP-led primary care is a necessary change in the long-term approach to addressing the crisis in hospitals. Both GPs, and the HSE, agree that this is the right long-term approach to provide the best care to patients and the best value for money to the Government. However, while there has been much discussion by the HSE and the Minister for Health about making this change, there has been no investment in general practice. In fact, funding has been taken out of general practice and the profession is in crisis, as a result”.
The latest figures from the Medical Council state that there are 63.1 GPs per 100,000 population, falling well below international standards of 80 GPs per 100,000. The NAGP said 915 GPs are set to emigrate or retire in the next five years.
Mr Goodey added: “In order to be able to make this decisive shift to GP-led primary care, general practice must be adequately resourced. Over a billion euro has been taken out of general practice in the last five years and the result has been mass emigration of our GP trainees. We need a new GP contract that is fit for purpose and which will ensure the future viability of general practice.”