'Typical' GP patient is taking 13 drugs
A typical patient cared for by GPs is now in her late 60s, suffers from eight chronic illnesses and is taking 13 regular medications.
The pressure faced by GP services due to factors such as the ageing population and the rise in long-term illness means general practice could be "irreparably damaged".
The warning is made in the pre-Budget submission of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP).
It said it could increase training places to 250 a year but retention measures are needed to replace 700 family doctors due to retire in the next four years.
The reversal of €120m in fees cuts imposed during the recession is essential in the upcoming Budget, it said.
Health Minister Simon Harris is expected to make a start in restoring the fees on a phased basis.
The reversal is key to agreeing a new contract with GPs, which the ICGP said has the potential to reignite interest in more doctors working as GPs and seeing it as a viable career.
"A new GP contract and the reversal of the cutbacks must be an overarching priority.
"We are now at a critical juncture in general practice," said Dr Tony Cox, ICGP medical director.
Patients would see the benefit in having more access to GPs, he added.