The demise of rural GP services

 

A chara, – Róisín Shortall TD rightly points out that significant capital investment and investment in primary care may lead to more accessible, equitable healthcare (September 20th).

Unfortunately, very significant errors and use of flawed statistics have led to a substantial underestimation of GP visit rates and workload. Sláintecare data suggests rates of consultation approximately half of what is suggested by CSO data and Ipsos MRBI data. Given the significant increase in consultation rates experienced by general practitioners and out-of-hours co-ops with the introduction of “free” care for children under the age of six, it is scarcely credible that a similar increase in rates will not occur with extension of this scheme under the guise of Sláintecare.

By attempting to transfer crucial clinical and administrative work to general practice without realistic evaluation of cost and workload, Sláintecare is likely to exacerbate capacity issues in general practice and contribute to the exodus of Irish-trained GPs.

Rural towns like Sneem and Bansha and many others have already lost regular GP services.

Well-meaning vested interests risk accelerating the demise of rural general practice. – Is mise,

Dr F HUGH BRIEN,

Clontarf,

Co Dublin.