• FEMPI reversal will stem the tide of GP emigration
  • Government is allocating huge resources to attract nurses back to Ireland but it will cost the Government millions to entice GPs back from abroad
  • FEMPI has been the death knell for general practice
  • The GP body calls for the urgent reversal of FEMPI cuts in line with other sectors

Ahead of their AGM this weekend, the National Association of General Practitioners has called on the Government to urgently reverse Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) cuts in general practice. The GP body say GPs have suffered funding cuts of up to 38% under FEMPI. Meanwhile, patients with medical and GP visit cards have increased to almost half the population with the introduction of the under 6’s and over 70’s free GP care. The union has said that FEMPI is a key factor in the high emigration of GPs as the profession is now unviable in Ireland.

The NAGP AGM, taking place this weekend (19th & 20th May) in Maynooth, will hear that FEMPI reversal is essential to stem the tide of GP emigration. The Government is allocating huge resources to attract nurses back to Ireland but it will cost the Government millions to entice GPs back from abroad.

Dr. Emmet Kerin, NAGP President, said, “The gate is open and the horses are bolting. We need to close that gate firmly shut and prevent further emigration. The harsh reality is that FEMPI has been the death knell for general practice and nothing short of urgent intervention will revive it”.

Newly qualified doctors have demonstrated their lack of faith in the viability of general practice as, for the first time, 10 GP training places have remained unfilled in 2017. This is compared to five times the amount of applications for each available position in previous years. General practice is viewed as unviable. The NAGP believe that without the reversal of FEMPI, along with a new General Medical Service (GMS) contract, doctors will no longer choose a career in general practice. 63.1 GPs per 100,000 population are currently practicing medicine in Ireland. This figure falls well below international best practice of 80 per 100,000 population. To compound the issue further only 74.2% of all GPs registered with the Council are practicing full-time.

Dr. Kerin said, “The reality is that the shortage of GPs is increasing as more newly-qualified GP trainees are emigrating. An ICGP survey found that upwards of 40% of GP trainees indicated that they would emigrate after graduation. We must stem the tide of emigration or the manpower crisis will continue and both GPs and patients will suffer the effects”.