Government’s cavalier attitude to GPs ‘crippling primary care’ – O’Reilly
Speaking during Leaders Questions today, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD accused the government of having a cavalier attitude to GPs because of their refusal to reverse cuts to primary care.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“General Practitioners are the cornerstone of our primary care services. Primary care is the front line of our health service and deals with the bulk of the health needs of the population.
“Not that I need to emphasise the importance of our GPs but, for the avoidance of doubt, last year, according to the Irish College General Practitioners, approximately 25 million patients were seen in Irish General Practices.
“That is an absolutely sensational performance – particularly when you factor in that the care that is delivered is world class health care.
“It is even more sensational when you factor in what this government has done to general practitioners and primary care through savage funding cuts – they cut 38% from General Practice under FEMPI legislation and have refused to reverse this.
“Instead, this government have produced a report yesterday claiming that €100m could be saved in efficiencies in order to completely undermine GPs – this is a very poor start to contract negotiations.
“GPs are operating at and above capacity in a primary care system which is creaking with capacity problems and they have the cheek to throw out reports claiming GPs and practice nurses are inefficient.
“GP practices in my own area in Swords and Balbriggan are closed to new entrants and I do not know how GP practices can become any more ‘efficient’.
“Suggesting that GPs and practice nurses aren’t already working to full capacity is beyond insulting.
“Fine Gael recently restored of TDs salaries, a restoration which we in Sinn Féin opposed, but, they refuse to reverse FEMPI in primary care, they have made no discernible progress in GP contract negotiations, and they have done nothing to increase capacity in primary care.
“General Practice is in crisis and as a matter of urgency we need to see a roadmap for the unwinding of FEMPI cuts to primary care and we need to see a conclusion to the GP contract negotiations that delivers a sustainable future for General Practice.”