Representatives of the NAGP met with Deputy Billy Kelleher, Fianna Fáil spokesperson on health this week (Tuesday, November 5th 2013) to highlight the serious issues facing general practice in Ireland.

The meeting between Deputy Kelleher and the NAGP representatives, Chris Goodey CEO, Dr Andrew Jordan, Chairman and Dr Chris O’Rourke, National Council, was part of the Association’s ongoing public affairs campaign.

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The NAGP communicated the issues that were facing general practice, particularly the detrimental impact that the FEMPI cuts were having on primary care, and highlighted to Deputy Kelleher the fact that Irish general practice was in crisis.

Dr Chris O’Rourke outlined to Deputy Kelleher how in a recent survey, 54% of practices felt that their viability was threatened. He told Deputy Kelleher that rural practices were particularly affected and ran the very real risk of going the way of the village post office and Garda station.

Dr Andy Jordan reminded Deputy Kelleher of the strategy for Primary Care published during Micheal Martin’s tenure at the Department of Health, and which was still very relevant 12 years after publication. Primary Care: A New Direction acknowledged the central role of General Practice in the future development of the State’s health services.

Deputy Kelleher agreed with the delegation, “that the Government’s primary care strategy is in tatters and that access to General Practice is being undermined.”

In acknowledging that General Practice was under enormous stress, Deputy Kelleher assured the NAGP delegation that Fianna Fail was fully committed to the Primary Care Strategy.