I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year.
The NAGP needs your support and these are the reasons why.
The challenges ahead for general practice in 2014 will be enormous and I cannot emphasise enough the importance of lobbying and getting our messages in to the public domain.
It will be essential that the NAGP and the IMO work together to achieve the mutual goals of general practice. We have to make sure that whatever happens, our profession is properly funded allowing us to concentrate on treating our patients so that we can once again get back to the business of being medical professionals.
The level of awareness that has been created among the public and politicians has been incredible and I am confident that as a result of this activity, a further FEMPI cut this year is unlikely. The line has been drawn in the sand but this is only the start — we now need to reverse the drastic cuts that have been thrust upon our profession. We need to fight for funding and the only way we can achieve increased resources in general practice is for us all to stand together.
We need to encourage our trainees and our NEGS to stay in Ireland and this will only happen if we make the future of general practice sustainable. This is our responsibility. Organisations like the NAGP, the IMO and the ICGP have a mandate to make sure that Ireland is a desirable place to work for our newly qualified doctors.
Over the next six months our aim will be to ensure that the proper funding of general practice stays at the top of the political agenda.
Significant resources will be required in order for us to launch our three-pronged campaign:
The first three months of this year will concentrate on rolling out our TD awareness campaign. More than 100 TDs will visit general practices all over the country.
Simultaneously, 4,000 election candidates will be canvassed to ensure that their election materials declare their support for general practice and the principle that access to healthcare in the community is a fundamental right for the Irish population.
A motion that was passed by Kerry County Council in 2013 calling for the reversal of the last FEMPI cut will be rolled out to the other 44 county councils.
The NAGP is determined to continue to pressure those who would put patient safety at risk. We will continue to advocate on behalf of patients and we will continue to do so via the media. What those who would dismantle general practice fear most is informed public opinion. We will continue to advise voters of the consequences of the changes that are being proposed.
Proactive media campaigning and lobbying is expensive and if we are to be successful, we will need your support. If you are not already a member, Join the NAGP, encourage your colleagues to join the NAGP, and ensure the future viability of general practice.
Dr Conor McGee