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Minister needs to fully commit to a refocus on primary care – Ó Caoláin

3 July, 2015 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin’s Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has commented on information that has come to light that exposes major shortcomings in the numbers of GPs, the Cavan Monaghan Deputy stating that “this threatens the viability of GP care across the state”.

 Deputy Ó Caoláin stated;

“My Dáil colleague Deputy Peadar Tóibín has received a response to a parliamentary question about overnight sessions in a Doctor on Call Centre in Navan due to the fact that there are not enough doctors. This is indicative of the crisis in General Practice across the state.

“Ireland has something in the order of 2,400 GPs. This equates to one GP for every 1,600 people compared to an OECD average of one GP for every 1,200 people. Despite this there have been only small increases in the numbers training and successive FEMPI cuts, cuts to rural practice allowances and out of hours payments have made the career unattractive to many prospective candidates.

“The Minister needs to address the issue of capacity urgently or there will be no chance of extending free GP care to all, a stated objective of the Minister. We need to increase the numbers training urgently. When these shifts are not covered this puts additional pressure on hospital Emergency Departments at a time when they too are in crisis. The Minister needs to fully commit to a refocus on primary care and he needs to do it now.” 

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