Government to invest ‘many millions’ more in general practice, Minister for Health says

Fianna Fáil spokesman Stephen Donnelly claims GPs facing serious challenges

In 2009, there were only 120 GP training places, while this year it was expected there would be 194. Photograph: iStock

In 2009, there were only 120 GP training places, while this year it was expected there would be 194. Photograph: iStock

 

Minister for Health Simon Harris has said he expects the Government will be investing “many millions’’ more in general practice from next year.

“GPs are very clearly saying to me, the Government and the country, that they cannot do more unless the existing services are made sustainable,’’ he added.

“And that requires additional investment.”

The Minister was replying in the Dáil on Thursday to Fianna Fáil health spokesman Stephen Donnelly, who said GPs were facing serious challenges, with many under enormous financial stress.

Mr Donnelly said the Minister should consider putting aside a budgetary allocation for next year.

Mr Harris said he wanted to be able to pay GPs a fair fee for the service they were providing that reflected the better economic situation in the country.

“I also want to spend an awful lot more money in general practice,’’ he added.

He said more GPs were now being trained than in the past. In 2009, there were only 120 GP training places, while this year it was expected there would be 194.

“That is an increase of 60 per cent,’’ he added.

He said the challenge was to ensure the GPs wanted to stay in the country when they came out of training. A new contract was needed to do that, he added.