*Action, and not talk, is needed to make decisive shift to GP-led Primary Care

*Transitional funding is required to move to a GP-led Primary Care system

*A new GP contract is urgently needed to retain and recruit GP graduates in Ireland

The NAGP has said that the overcrowding crisis in hospital emergency departments has reached catastrophic levels due to a lack of proper planning and investment. The GP body say that the HSE and Department of Health have been talking about the need for change but there has been no meaningful move towards a new system.

The NAGP welcomed comments made today by the HSE Director General, Tony O’Brien, that there needs to be a redesign of the health service with a decisive shift to general practice and primary care. Mr. O’Brien also reiterated his previous statement that there needs to be transitional investment to build up primary care to support this change.

Mr. Chris Goodey, NAGP CEO, said, “A fundamental shift to GP-led Primary Care is a necessary change in the long-term approach to addressing the crisis in hospitals. Both GPs, and the HSE, agree that this is the right long-term approach to provide the best care to patients and the best value for money to the Government. However, while there has been much discussion by the HSE and the Minister for Health about making this change, there has been no investment in General Practice. In fact, funding has been taken out of General Practice and the profession is in crisis, as a result”.

The latest figures from the Irish Medical Council state that there are 63.1 GPs per 100,000 population, falling well below international standards of 80 GPs per 100,000. We know that 915 GPs are set to emigrate or retire in the next five years. The capacity crisis in General Practice must be urgently addressed before any additional workload can be considered.

Mr. Goodey continued, “In order to be able to make this decisive shift to GP-led Primary Care, General Practice must be adequately resourced. Over a billion euro has been taken out of General Practice in the last five years and the result has been mass emigration of our GP Trainees. We need a new GP contract that is fit for purpose and which will ensure the future viability of General Practice”.