GPs call for urgent reversal of cuts made during financial crisis

NAGP says Government cuts are main reason driving high doctors emigration

 

Family doctors have called on the Government to urgently reverse the cuts made to general practice during the economic downturn.

The National Association of GPs (NAGP) says its members have suffered cuts of up to 38 per cent under Fempi (Financial Emergency Measure in the Public Service) introduced in 2012, at a time when medical card coverage has increased to almost half the population. Fempi cuts are one of the key factors driving the high rate of emigration of GPs and making the profession “unviable” in Ireland, the union says.

The aim of the organisation, which takes place in Maynooth on Friday and Saturday, will hear that reversing Fempi is essential to stem the tide of emigration by family doctors.

“The gate is open and the horses are bolting. We need to close that gate firmly shut and prevent further emigration,” says NAGP president Emmet Kerins. “The harsh reality is that Fempi has been the death knell for general practice and nothing short of urgent intervention will revive it.”

For the first time, 10 GP training places have remained unfilled this year. The NAGP says this is a demonstration of the “lack of faith” newly qualified doctors have in general practice.

Talks with the Department of Health and the HSE on the provision of a new GP contract are ongoing.