Dr Padraig McGarry, Chair of IMO (Irish Medical Organisation) GP Committee has welcomed comments by the Minister for Health that talks are due to commence on FEMPI in the coming weeks.
He said: “GPs faced cuts of 38 per cent through FEMPI and have suffered the disastrous consequences of those cuts while trying to maintain care for patients. It is inconceivable in a time of reduced capacity in terms of GP numbers, increased patient numbers and rising costs that Government would seek to delay the restoration of FEMPI cuts”.
He claimed that this should be a priority for Government, as reform and a shift of care to the GP setting cannot take place while GPs are expected to “effectively fund existing services from their own resources”..
Dr McGarry went on to say: “What has happened in the past decade has led to a disillusioned and demoralised profession with many due to retire and the younger GPs choosing to emigrate.
“GPs are struggling on a daily basis to deliver what is only an acute service to medical card and doctor visit card patients. Our health system is collapsing around us and General Practice, the cornerstone of delivering care, is under siege as we try to plug the gaps”.
Mr McGarry called for a two-pronged approach by Government to establish stability into the system and to reform the way in which healthcare is delivered. These include urgent restoration timetable for FEMPI to bring back a decade of lost funding and new funding for services to allow GPs to deliver appropriate care in the community
The IMO have stated that is has been a battle even to get to reach these talks, expressing hope that the Minister for Health and Government take an honest and realistic approach to these talks.
The organisation warned: “Unless and until GPs can see the Government is serious about funding a first class GP service the ongoing problems of unfilled posts, emigration of GPs and burnout will continue”.