The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) is shocked  with the contents of the HSE Service Plan for 2019, which was published yesterday evening.

Dr Maitiú o Tuathail, President of the NAGP said “Patients will continue to suffer through the lack of joined up thinking and vision in this poorly thought out plan. The service plan is nothing short of a disgrace,when you put it against the backdrop of the Slainte Care Plan but is unfortunately what we have now come to expect on an annualised basis.”

“It fails to make any attempt to address the crisis currently facing patients attending their General Practitioner with no measurable increase in resourcing for services in the community.”

“What we have here is an abundance of spin and a complete lack of substance.”

“2019 will be the year where waiting lists for General Practice appointments will reach crisis levels never seen in this Country in the past, and where an ever increasing number of patients will be unable to access a GP”.

The chapter on primary care provides no detail as to what level of resources will be made available for General Practice in the coming year.

There is loose talk about community healthcare networks (CHNs). This talk has no definition, rationale and is certainly not a solution driven statement.

There is no funding allocation for the promised Sláintecare Plan for 2019, this was promised to be implemented over the next 10 years with implied commencement in 2019.

Without new resources to support continuity of care through general practice there can be little advance in population health or the integration agenda of Slaintecare during 2019.

The NAGP recognises that €16 billion in day to day funding for the entire Health Service is a significant sum, and we believe the manner in which this overall level of funding is allocated needs to be properly and forensically re-examined.

Dr Andy Jordan, Chairman of the NAGP said “We call for a full overhaul of the Health Service Executive and ask the new board of the HSE to immediately set to work on this task. We cannot continue to squander the taxes of the Irish people on hair brain, ill thought out plans that are not evidence based”. continued Dr Jordan

“We must insist that the Minister and his officials put an end to the waste and nonsense that exists in our health system and the Departmental staff must become accountable.

Transformation funding is not provided for in this service plan, which means another year is lost and no meaningful progress can occur in General Practice.

As a result, more patients will be unable to find GPs who can take them onto their practice lists; the current workload has General Practice at breaking point.

Recruiting and retaining GPs and practice nurses will become a more acute problem in 2019 under this plan.

For General Practice, the HSE Service Plan raises more questions than it answers. General Practice as we know it will not exist within 10 years.

We will be asking those detailed questions of the Minister and the HSE in the weeks ahead.

For more information contact: 01 2546199