The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) today (Monday, 19th August 2013), launched its nationwide patient awareness campaign entitled “General Practice in Crisis.” The campaign which was launched in Cork will be rolled out nationally over the next four weeks. The campaign was initiated following the Association’s stark warning, calling on the Minister of Health to reverse these cutbacks which are having a detrimental effect on the health of the Irish people.
The purpose of the emergency campaign is to shed light on the impact of the Department of Health’s recent cutbacks. The Association predicts that the Department’s current cut will have an enormous impact on general practice, with longer waiting lists, no home visits and changes in fee structures. In order to halt the “systematic dismantling of general practice”, the Association is calling on members of the public to act now and sign a petition, to contact their public representative immediately and voice their objection to these cutbacks.
Commenting on the nationwide launch, Cork based GP and secretary of the NAGP Dr Don Punch said “GP services are now at breaking point and we predict severe difficulties in coping with the day to day running of our practices and our patient’s health issues. The Autumn and Winter season will bring further problems such as exacerbation of respiratory illness, longer waiting lists and the inability to carry out house calls, often to the weakest and most vulnerable in our society.”
Chairman of the NAGP, Dr Andy Jordan said “On top of this we have seen draconian cuts that reduce our ability to treat patients.”
Dr Jordan then went onto say that “Over the past three years, €160 million has been taken from General Practice. This equates to an average of 33% reduction of funding to the poorest in our society. The community-based GP services are now at risk due to the latest round of savage cuts by the Health Minister, under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009 (FEMPI.)”
President of the NAGP Dr Conor McGee added “Our association seeks to highlight the impact the cuts will have on the community. The recent 7.5% cut in GP’s fees will result in 8% of practices in Ireland facing major financial difficulties, as GP’s will no longer be able to afford to run their practices. This could result in the closure of over 120 general practices around the country. This nationwide campaign hopes to reinforce our total commitment to our patients and the service that we offer them.”