GPs forced to let staff go
Chief executive Chris Goodey warned that “the walls were caving in” on family doctors, many of whom had been forced to let staff go. They simply would not be able to maintain the current level of services in light of the latest FEMPI cuts, he said. A survey of 72 GP practices carried out by the NAGP found that as many as eight per cent of GPs were in danger of going out of business as a result of the cuts.
Reduction in funding to primary care
Dr Andrew Jordan, Chairman of the NAGP told the EGM that there had been a 33 per cent reduction in funding for GP services in the last three years and patients needed to be aware that services would be affected as a result. He said cuts introduced in recent years had seen €160m taken out of primary care.
Dr Jordan also pointed out that younger GPs, many of whom had completed their training or spent some time working abroad, were becoming disillusioned and it would become increasingly difficult to keep them in Ireland.
The meeting heard calls for money to be reallocated to primary care, given that 92% of clinical cases were seen by GPs.
In a recent address to the Oireachtas Select Sub Committee on Health, Health Minister James Reilly spoke about the cuts recently introduced via the FEMPI Act. “I am satisfied that these reductions are fair and reasonably and will not have an adverse effect on patient care,” Minister Reilly told the Committee. He said that overall the FEMPI reductions would save in the region of €70m in a full year, savings the Government believed were both necessary and proportionate.