Saturday 16 December 2017

Proposal may damage the health service – GPs

Conor Kane

GPs have warned that the Government's Universal Health Insurance (UHI) proposal could damage the parts of the health service that already work.

In a preliminary response to the White Paper on UHI published yesterday by the Taoiseach and Minister for Health, the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) said the debate on the issue so far had concentrated on cost rather than the views of patients and called for greater integration between primary care and hospital care.

The ICGP, which represents around 3,000 GPs in Ireland, said yesterday it welcomed any move to improve equality of access to health services as the system as it stood was "inherently inequitable".

The ICGP's chair of communications, Dr Darach O Ciardha, said: "General practitioners are concerned that reforming health services under the proposed insurance-based model could risk causing harm to the functioning elements of the Irish health system.

"The debate so far has been focused almost entirely on how a universal health system would be financed. There has been no representation of patient views."

Dr O Ciardha outlined a number of "unanswered" questions such as who will decide on appropriate care levels or whether healthcare would be more costly. He said health spending in The Netherlands, which has UHI in place, has "doubled in the last 11 years". The ICGP and will be examining the detail of the White Paper in the coming weeks.

Irish Independent

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