Thursday 19 September 2019

GP crisis 'will leave 230,000 without basic care'

More than 230,000 patients will be left scrambling for a new GP because of the imminent retirement of hundreds of doctors in the coming years, according to new research. (stock photo)
More than 230,000 patients will be left scrambling for a new GP because of the imminent retirement of hundreds of doctors in the coming years, according to new research. (stock photo)
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

More than 230,000 patients will be left scrambling for a new GP because of the imminent retirement of hundreds of doctors in the coming years, according to new research.

This will hit patients with acute illnesses and disabilities the worst. An estimated 700 doctors are set to retire in the next seven years, which the Irish Patients' Association (IPA) predicts will force 5pc of the country's surgeries to close. Ireland is already in the midst of a GP crisis, with almost half of the country's doctors confirming they have been forced to shut their doors to new patients.

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Research by the IPA shows the situation is set to worsen in the coming years, fuelled by a retention crisis and a spate of imminent retirements.

Its analysis of CSO data predicts the 700 retirements will leave 238,093 patients without a local doctor. The closure of 5pc of the country's surgeries will mean people will have to travel longer distances to receive basic medical care. The Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP), the body representing general practice, said "patients who don't have GPs don't have that cradle-to-grave continuity of care that GPs can offer".

An ICGP spokeswoman told the Sunday Independent it has concerns about the impact the under-supply of doctors will have on new nursing homes seeking GPs to see patients.

IPA director Stephen McMahon said 32,000 people with disabilities will be hit worst. "It is not just people getting sick with a headache who are affected but also people with serious health needs," he said.

Sunday Independent

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