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Monday 25 September 2023 Dublin: 16°C
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# general practice
GPs launch campaign for more resources as service on 'brink of collapse'
The IMO wants a five-fold jump in the portion of the health budget spent on General Practice.

CURRENTLY, ABOUT TWO per cent of Ireland’s health budget is spent on General Practice, and according to the Irish Medical Organisation, it is not sufficient.

The body’s 2,000-plus GPs launched a significant campaign this morning to lobby the government for more resources.

Looking at the UK model for inspiration, GPs say they want a five-fold increase in the portion of the health budget spent on them, bringing them more in line with the 9 per cent spend in Britain.

The campaign also wants to secure a commitment from government that it will preserve a “community based, same-day appointment service for General Practice”, as well as an agreed strategy for the development of the services over the coming decade.

According to the IMO there is a growing shortage of GPs which needs to be addressed with an “action plan for manpower”.

Every year, more than 22 million clinical consultations are held between GPs and their patients.

“Because it is so accessible, many policy makers and politicians overlook the critical role played by General Practice,” said chairman of the IMO’s GP committee Dr Ray Walley.

He noted that “successive governments have heaped extra burdens on General Practice while withdrawing resources at the same time”.

“The number of patients with either medical cards or GP Visit cards has increased by 38 per cent in the past five years yet the spend on General Practice is down by over seven per cent in the same period,” he explained.

This is unsustainable and will bring the service to the brink of collapse.

The IMO stressed that the Resource GP campaign, which will include advertising, public meetings, meetings with politicians and other stakeholders and information about the value provided within General Practice, would be positive and focus on patients.

“With the proper resources we could do an enormous amount to improve the delivery of health services in the community and we want to help,” continued Dr Walley. “We want to persuade the government of the potential that exists within General Practice and the ability within the GP profession to help transform the delivery of services to patients within their communities.”

Concluding his statement today, the chairman had a warning for the coalition over plans to extend free GP care to everyone over the next two years.

Describing it as “unhelpful”, he said: “Firstly we don’t believe it will happen. But, secondly, we are also concerned that it’s a distraction from the urgent need to increase resources for General Practice now to improve patient outcomes today. That should be the priority.”

Read: Letterkenny Hospital investigating claims child was hit by doctor

More: Transparency in medical negligence cases could save the health system millions

‘We just kept getting them in the post’: How a family of five has 14 medical cards

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