New Primary Care Centre Announcement welcome but ‘GPs must be recruited and adequately resourced’ – Ó Caoláin
Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has welcomed the fact that the Government recognises the need to invest in community care delivery, but says that they are approaching it in the wrong manner. Deputy Ó Caoláin was responding to the announcement that the European Investment Bank is to invest €70 million in 14 Primary Care Centres across the state.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“I am on record of having criticised the PPP system in the past. There is a considerable body of international evidence that demonstrates that PPPs are not the optimal means of financing public capital investment projects within the state sector. I understand that plans are also underway for a further 20 centres to be provided by more traditional forms of financing, such as Operational Lease or Direct/own build. These are, in my view, the preferred way to proceed with public capital works.
“While I welcome the announcement of new primary care centres, I am concerned with the focus being solely on the physical buildings. We need to ensure that general practice is attractive to candidates, appropriately staffed, and has an improved focus on chronic disease management. Heart Watch and Diabetic Watch, GP schemes focusing on secondary prevention for patients need to be further resourced and rolled out through these centres in all areas.
“Mental health also needs to be provided for, with a shift of emphasis to early intervention at primary level. The Rural GP grant must be looked at again as many areas are finding it impossible to attract GPs due to a succession of cuts. The Government needs to focus on drawing up a new GMS contract as a matter of urgency to ensure the focus and pressure on hospitals is reduced.”