Statement from the National Association of GPs
·         Long term solution to trolley crisis is a new community care system driven by GPs
·          Hospital overcrowding will remain an annual problem unless Primary Care system reformed
·         Government  is patching over the crisis with a  Band-Aid
The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) has warned of continued overcrowding in Irish hospitals, after record number of patients on trolleys reported first two weeks in January, unless significant measures are taken now by Government.
Extra hospital beds is just one element, the other is investing properly in a GP primary Care led system.
The Bed Capacity Review makes it clear that the 2,500 extra beds is contingent on the SláinteCare reforms – which includes a radical shift of funding to primary care.
Chris Goodey, Chief Executive of the NAGP, said the New Year trolley crisis had become an annual catastrophe, as hospitals and the secondary care system creaked under patient demand, in the absence of an adequately funded primary care strategy.
“It’s the tale of the boy at the dam who uses a finger to stop a leak. 
The solution acts as a temporary measure, until other leaks appear and the subsequent pressure of the water cannot be ignored,” Mr Goodey said.
“We have hospital emergency departments heaving under the weight of overcrowding caused by a shortage of beds and a rampaging flu season.
Yet the government continues to do what it does year after year, smoothing over the cracks with sticking plasters.
We have yet to see clear – short, medium and long-term solutions, backed by real money.”
The NAGP is calling on Simon Harris, the Minister for Health, to begin immediate resourcing of primary care commencing with the immediate reversal oF FEMPI.
This kind of reform will require ‘front loading’ significant money in the early years.
The €25m the Government has committed this year to develop primary care is totally insufficient and is a band-aid solution.
Mr Goodey said that the Minister has held back a significant sum of money from the HSE’s 2018 €15 billion allocation for certain eventualities.
“He should release this funding now for real measures that would boost the GP service   for patients and help it cope with the huge pressures it will face this year and beyond.”