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Dublin: 4°C Sunday 28 November 2021

Doctors are being urged to refuse to sign up to the free GP scheme

They say that the plan will not be in the best interests of patients.

Image: Shutterstock/Ilike

THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of General Practitioners (NAGP) has called on doctors not to comply with the government’s plan to give free GP care to under-sixes.

The NAGP, which represents 1,200 of the country’s 2,300 GPs, has recommended that its members refuse to sign any contract put forward by the government.

According to the NAGP, GPs have an “ethical and moral responsibility” to “prevent the introduction of a scheme which will only serve to increase the abhorrent inequities in our health service”.

They say that the plan will not be in the best interests of patients.

“With hundreds of patients on trolleys in our emergency departments every day and medical cards being removed from or denied to cancer patients, it is morally reprehensible to invest scarce public funds into providing free care to any group of people who do not have a genuine medical or financial need,” the NAGP believes.

Every one of us has scores, if not hundreds, of patients on dangerously long waiting lists. We all have patients who have been denied a medical card or had their medical card withdrawn despite real medical need.

In our capital, a north-side Dubliner will die seven years earlier than his south-side neighbour and yet the south side has one GP for every 1,600 people while the north side has one GP for every 3,000.

“It is our honest belief that rural and deprived inner city practice will effectively cease within the next five to 10 years. To fuel such inequality and injustices should be a cause of shame to the Minister for Health,” says Dr Michael McConville, Cavan GP and a member of the NAGP’s National Council.

Read: Half of Ireland’s GPs are working more than 50 hours per week

Read: So it turns out that ‘free GP care’ might not actually be free

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