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Dr Brendan O’Shea, Director, Post-Graduate Resource Centre, ICGP, has commented that well-resourced general practices could be key in reducing Emergency Department overcrowding, following the ICGP’s pre-Budget Submission for Budget 2018.

He also claimed that this could be a factor in encouraging the recruitment of new doctors to address the HSE’s predicted manpower crisis of a shortage of 2,000 GPs by 2025.

The ICGP submission calls upon the Department of Finance to increase funding to general practice, outlining six key recommendations for the delivery of expanded healthcare services by general practitioners in the community.

Dr O’Shea, stated: “The ICGP recommends the introduction of a new contract for general practice as an overarching priority. The new contract must provide for the management of chronic disease in the community”.

The 4,156 members of the college represent over 85 per cent of practising GPs in the Republic of Ireland.

In addition to the negotiation of a new GP contract, the submission recommends funding for the development of essential general practice and a reversal of the FEMPI cuts.

It also seeks an increase in capacity in general practice and primary care, and addresses the need for greater access for GPs to diagnostic and mental health services.