Wednesday 16 January 2019

Vacancies for 23 GPs across the country

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Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Around 23 vacancies currently exist for full-time GPs to take over lists of medical card patients in different parts of the country.

These are in Cavan, Monaghan, Galway, Thurles, Waterville, Skibbereen, Louth, Meath and Dublin north, the HSE confirmed.

The lists of patients vary from 283 to 1,441.

The Irish Medical Organisation said the delay in filling the vacancies was linked to the failure of the Government to reverse the cuts in fees which were imposed on family doctors during the recession.

This has left many practices financially struggling. It is expected that talks are to take place shortly on reversing the measures.

The HSE said that locum doctors are in place in all cases to cover the care of the patients.

The 23 vacancies amount to around less than 1pc of the total number of medical card panels, it added.

There are currently almost 2,500 GPs contracted to provide services under the medical card scheme.

The health service said that despite reductions to certain payment rates made during the recession, the number of GPs contracted under the scheme had risen from 2,136 in 2009 to 2,484 as of March 1, 2018.

Furthermore, the total fees paid to GPs under the General Medical Services scheme have also increased during this period from just over €427m in 2009 to approximately €517m. This increase in fees is largely due to significant developments in GP services introduced in recent year, it said.

However, GPs insist they are overwhelmed with a huge workload and growing numbers of young doctors are opting to go abroad to work.

Irish Independent

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