Difficulties and conditions of GPs

Wed, Apr 9, 2014, 01:50

Sir, – Ellen MacCafferty (Letters, April 8th) asserts that GPs are “virtually public sector workers”. Really? I am sure doctors around the country are popping corks to hear that they are now entitled to huge pensions, like other public sector workers.

What GPs earn from the GMS is information that is freely available, on a practice-by-practice basis, from the HSE. But Ms MacCafferty would like doctors to publish what they privately earn in nett terms, so that she and people like her can judge what is fair. Why stop there? She might also like to know what cars they drive, where they holiday, where they live and what schools their children attend?

What I would suggest is that she should read, if she is interested, the OECD report 2013 into the remuneration of medical specialists, which ranked Ireland at the bottom of the OECD countries in terms of earnings as a multiple of the average industrial wage.

The idea that the rush of Leaving Certificate students to do medical degrees is proof positive that the earnings “must be worthwhile” is risible, especially in the context of over half of current medical graduates leaving these shores within two years of graduating, presumably for better pay and conditions abroad.

Finally, while it is true that everyone in business has to pay running costs, not everyone has to endure the abuse that GPs do for having the cheek to ask their customers to actually, God forbid, pay for their services. Yours, etc,

TURLOUGH

O’DONNELL FRCSI

Ardilea,

Dublin 14

Sir, – As a practising rural GP, living on a peninsula the size of Louth, I concur with the sentiments of my GP colleague Dr Valerie Collins (Letters, April 7th). Dr Collins’s description of the day-to-day demands on a rural GP is very apt. Couple this with the dictatorial health regime, which refuses to negotiate meaningfully on contract issues, and the result is a disillusioned workforce, which cannot be in the best interest of any of the stakeholders, most importantly our patients. Yours etc,

DR KEITH SWANICK,

Swanick Family Practice,

Belmullet,

Co Mayo

Sir, – According to a recent survey, people perceive that doctors tell the truth 89 per cent of the time, TDs 23 per cent and Ministers 20 per cent. GPs say that their unwell and elderly patients are losing their medical cards to fund the under-sixes. They say GPs are leaving and we will face a manpower crisis in the next five to 10 years. They say we need planning and investment before universal healthcare can work. The Ministers and TDs say they are lying. Are they? Yours, etc,

DR ELUNED LAWLOR,

Loughboy Medical Centre,

Kilkenny