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Over 90 GPs from across the country attended the Rural, Island and Dispensing Doctor’s of Ireland annual conference last weekend, which brought together rural GPs and their representatives from the IMO, NAGP, and the ICGP.

Delegates called for unity on the issue of Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) cuts in General Practice.

Dr. Jerry Cowley, Chairman of the conference said, “FEMPI has caused the complete demise of General Practice and urgent intervention is needed to prevent the total collapse of the service. Our members have unanimously called for the three GP organisations to work together and ensure the reversal of FEMPI cuts.

“It is agreed by all that the reversal of these cuts must be the first step in reviving General Practice. I call on the three bodies to coordinate their efforts on this key issue for GPs”.

At the conference, it was unanimously agreed by the three organisations that the 38 per cent cuts to funding in General Practice, under FEMPI, had essentially brought the service to its knees, while patients with medical cards and GP visit cards have increased to almost half the population with the introduction of the under sixes and over 70s free GP care.

The combination of an increased workload and reduced funding has created what was described at the conference as “a crisis in General Practice”.

It was also claimed that FEMPI must be dealt with to curb the current high emigration of GPs, as the cuts have driven many GPs to believe that the profession is currently unviable in Ireland.

The Rural, Island and Dispensing Doctor’s of Ireland annual conference provides an opportunity for all Irish rural, island and dispensing doctors to meet and discuss matters of common interest and concern in a social setting with an academic programme included.