The National Association of General Practitioners has expressed grave concern at the crisis situation at Beaumont Hospital’s Emergency Department and has called for emergency funding to be made available to general practice to allow GPs to assist in resolving the matter.

The NAGP is concerned that the statement issued by Beaumont Hospital will deter patients who need emergency department care from seeking appropriate treatment and could have serious consequences for patient safety.

NAGP CEO, Chris Goodey acknowledged the ongoing pressures being experienced by emergency departments around the country and said that GPs are keen to assist the secondary care sector. However, he said, general practice is itself at breaking point and diverting patients to the overstretched GP sector without commensurate resources will not address the fundamental issues fuelling the ED crisis.

“The situation being experienced at Beaumont and other hospitals is a direct result of under-investment in our health service, particularly in community-based health services. This Government must now honour its commitment to invest the necessary resources in general practice so that more people can be appropriately and efficiently cared for in the community,” Mr Goodey said.

“The NAGP has repeatedly warned that the continuing underinvestment in general practice will ultimately remove the same-day care that the sector is known for. Such a development will only further worsen the ED crisis.”

The NAGP is calling for emergency funding to be made available to GPs in the Beaumont area and throughout the country, to facilitate GPs in recruiting additional staff, extending practice hours and expanding out-of-hours services.

“We have seen that investing more and more money in the hospital sector does not deliver results. Internationally, general practice is recognised as the gatekeeper to secondary care and is appropriately resourced to fulfil that role. The blinkered approach to health care funding must come to an end. The limited finances available must be directed towards processes which deliver low-cost, high-quality care. This is essential in the interest of the exchequer, the health system and, most importantly, patient care,” Mr Goodey said.

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For further information or to arrange an interview, contact Andrew Mernagh, Lotus PR on 087-2911028 or andrew@lotuspr.ie