• NAGP welcome recognition that general practice services require more funding
  • GP union say new GP contract negotiation process must be accelerated to stablise service

The National Association of General Practitioners has welcomed the HSE’s recognition that transitional funding is essential to support a move to GP-led primary care. The GP union was reacting to the launch of the HSE’s “A Future Togetherreport which addressed building better GP and primary care services for patients. The report recognised that a decisive shift to GP-led primary care is an essential component of healthcare reform and that transitional funding is needed, both in the short and longer term, to achieve this.

Dr Emmet Kerin, NAGP President, speaking after the launch of the report said, “This report is a commendable body of work that supports the approach that all stakeholders have been discussing – moving more patient care into the community and resourcing general practice. Tony O’Brien (DG of the Health Service Executive) states in the report that transitional funding of €500 million per year over 10 years is required to resource this shift to GP-led primary care. The NAGP is calling on the Government to take on board the recommendations in todays report and the all-party Slaintecare report. We must start to see some credible progress on behalf of patients as we face into yet another challenging winter”.

The report recognised that the percentage of the overall healthcare budget spent on general practice was extremely low by international standards and needs to increase.

Dr Kerin said, “This report outlines that Irish spending on general practice services is inadequate even to maintain services at current levels. However, we know that population needs are increasing. We must ensure that funding into general practice is increased as a matter of urgency, starting with reversal of the 38% cuts under FEMPI”.

The HSE report found that trainee GPs believe “the current system is not professionally satisfying for them” and are therefore considering alternative options. The NAGP say that a new GP contract is critical to stabilising the profession and restoring viability.

Dr Kerin concluded, “A modern, fit-for-purpose GP contract that allows flexibility and offers better terms and conditions will attract back our highly trained GPs and retain those that would have otherwise considered emigration. Progress on a new contract has been frustratingly slow. We are calling on the Minister for Health to intervene and instil a sense of urgency in the process”.