Yesterday, at the pre AGM National Council meeting of the NAGP Mr. Chris Goodey outlined the need for 500 new GPs in order to begin the process of bringing the number of Irish GPs into line with the OECD average.

Speaking in advance of the AGM (which takes place on Saturday 23rd November) Chris Goodey said, “Ireland has half as many GPs per head of population than the norm across the OECD, and a quarter of the number of GPs per head of population when compared with Australia. As a matter of urgency the government needs to put the resourcing in place to support an increase in the number of GPs. It is clear that unless the Government undertakes significant reforms to make General Practice attractive for new entrants to the profession, the current manpower crisis will lead to a collapse in the system of primary care.”

“The AGM of the NAGP is taking place at a very challenging time for GPs as a result of the dramatic cuts imposed by FEMPI legislation. GPs have had the resources they receive from the HSE (GMS Scheme) cut by as much as 33% per patient. This is the allowance they receive on an annual basis for treating medical card holders and it is these funds that provides for the GP surgery, heat, light, rent, equipment, staff and services. In my address tomorrow afternoon I will send a strong warning to the Government parties that as things stand, and unless funding to General Practice is significantly increased in the short term, 150 General Practices across every county in the country face the real risk of imminent closure.”

Also speaking in advance of the AGM, Dr. Andy Jordan, Chairman of the NAGP said, “the NAGP is strongly of the opinion that the recently announced cut backs to GMS are intrinsically linked to the cost of providing free GP visits for Children aged five and under. Dr. Jordan commented, “The Minister by making the announcement for free GP care for children aged 6 and under, attempted to create a smokescreen to deflect from the significant cuts to the Health budget planned for next year, and the plan to take medical cards from the most vulnerable in society…”

Dr. Stephen Murphy, Chairperson of the NAGP’s Communications Committee said:  “If the 280,000 or so children under six who currently don’t have a medical card are given one, then there will be a huge increase in visits to GPs – thereby increasing the average GPs workload by 10% or more – other patients will, of necessity – have to lose out or wait. If the GP service is overwhelmed, it will have a serious follow-on impact on the rest of the health service with disastrous results.”

ENDS

Mr Chris Goodey, Dr Andy Jordan and DR Stephen Murphy are available for interview.

For further Information and interview schedule please contact
Timothy Smyth 087 9882703/ 01 6678795
Lex Public Affairs
120 Pembroke Road,
Dublin 4