NAGP warn that General Practice, as it currently exists, will be extinct in 10 years
While GP-led Primary Care has been heralded by all parties as the cornerstone of a reformed healthcare system, the GP union has issued a stark warning in light of the ongoing crisis in General Practice. The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) warned, ahead of their AGM in Maynooth this weekend, that GPs would not take on any further additional work without investment in general practice. The GP body commented that the lack of investment in general practice is at odds with the Minister’s stated intention of moving more services into the community.
Dr. Andrew Jordan, NAGP Chairman said, “General Practice could be as extinct as the Tasmanian Tiger if the crisis is not urgently addressed. Locum GPs are common place where practices are unviable and the HSE has failed to recruit a GP for vacant lists. It is beyond belief that the Government, despite the NAGP’s many warnings, has let general practice reach this point where GP numbers have fallen so far below international standards. The Government proposal to move more care into the community will fall flat if there are no GPs to implement the service”.
Ahead of the AGM, the NAGP President, Dr. Emmet Kerin said that FEMPI has been the death knell of general practice and nothing short of urgent intervention will revive it. The NAGP called on the Government to reverse FEMPI cuts in a process similar to that currently being employed for other employees and organisations.
Dr. Jordan continued, “We anticipate the publication of the Future of Healthcare committee’s report on their vision for healthcare reform later this month. It will be interesting to see if this vision has been properly costed. GPs are ideally positioned to play a central role in healthcare reform which sees a decisive shift to GP-led Primary Care. However, General Practice, as it currently exists, will be extinct in 10 years if we don’t benefit from urgent investment. We are all looking to the future but we must not let this stop us from addressing the immediate challenges for GPs and their patients”.
The pressure on GP services are showing as patients report increased difficulty in finding a GP that is accepting new patients and existing patients are experiencing longer waiting times for appointments. Increased demands have also resulted in shorter consultation times for patients.