The NAGP take issue with the Taoiseach’s comments at a private meeting of FG TD’s and senators on Wednesday last, February 7th.

His statement to the Sunday Independent that “if every GP sent two fewer patients to the A&E each week, it would make a big step towards resolving the trolley crisis”. Comments like this are hugely concerning as it would appear that the Taoiseach doesn’t actually understand the crux of the problems in the health care system.

If there is inappropriate behaviour taking place in the healthcare system, it is not GPs who will be taking the blame. GPs never put patients on trollies, it is the hospital staff who make that decision, based on their assessment when they present at the hospital.  On the contrary, GPs refer patients to A&E Departments as a last resort.

A GP led primary care model and not the upside down structure which is currently in place would help alleviate the pressures in the health service.

The chronic under-funding and limited access to diagnostic equipment for GPs is playing a huge part in the overcrowding of the A&E Departments.

The inference that GPs should be monitored in terms of their referral rate hugely undermines our professional, educated and compassionate reasoning for referring patients to A&E. With every decision made, GPs have the patients well-being & safety in mind.

Empowering GPs to carry out more procedures in the community, in a GP led primary care health system is what is required. Giving GPs access to diagnostics in the community and the facility to manage chronic disease is what will help alleviate the waiting time, lists and demand for beds in hospitals.

It is with great reluctance that GPs refer patients to A&E departments.

Again, the NAGP demands that negotiations on a GP contract get under way as a matter of urgency with the representative bodies to ensure that patient safety and well-being is at the heart of our healthcare system.