General practice in crisis
Sir, – Family doctors suffered disproportionately under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Fempi) legislation, with GP practices suffering cuts of up to 38 per cent. This was aligned with an increase in the number of medical card and GP-visit card patients to the tune of almost half the population. Under Fempi, GPs are paid as little as €43.29 per patient per annum. This payment covers all consultations, regardless of how often the patient visits.
The profession is at breaking point and there is a critical shortage of GPs. We are not training enough GPs to address population need, and almost half of those who do qualify are emigrating in search of better opportunities. General practice in Ireland is no longer seen as a viable profession. Urgent and decisive action must be taken by the Government. Both the reversal of Fempi cuts and a new GP contract are required to make general practice viable again. – Yours, etc,
of General Practitioners,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.