Independent TD Mattie McGrath has accused the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar of escalating the pressure that is being experienced by GP surgeries across the Country as they struggle to adapt to the implementation of the free GP Care Plan for under 6’s. Deputy McGrath made his comments after the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan confirmed yesterday that the free GP Care Plan will now be extended to all children under 12:
“In light of the fact that there has been absolutely zero data collected about how the existing free GP plan for under 6’s is performing, this move strikes me as reckless and deeply irresponsible.
The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) have confirmed to me that the Minister did not even engage in the minimal courtesy of consulting its 1450 members about this phase of the plan.
That number represents almost half of the entire amount of practising GP’s in this State.
What was also made clear to me was that In order to maintain even the current level of GP consultations available now, an increase in GP numbers from the current 2,954 to 4,264 by 2021 would have to occur.
We know that there is no plan in place to provide for that increase. Yet despite this absence the Minister is demanding that GP’s do more with less and less. It is simply not sustainable.
These facts underscore the belief that the measures being introduced are purely aimed at electoral advantage and have little or nothing to do with the implementation of a local health policy based on actual need,” concluded Deputy McGrath.