Darragh O'Loughlin: Pharmacists are ready and willing to take pressure off GPs
Ireland's health services are under unprecedented pressure. Demand for healthcare is increasing as our growing population is ageing, but the resources available to deliver healthcare are shrinking year on year.
The Government has published a laudable plan to improve the health of the nation, Healthy Ireland, and has a stated policy of enhancing access to healthcare by focusing on primary care, with a commitment to provide free GP care to the entire population. However, general practitioners are, by their own admission, struggling to cope with their existing workload and now face having to deal with millions of additional GP visits every year once universal GP care is introduced.
Meanwhile, patients who require admission to hospitals face intolerable delays, with anecdotal evidence of patients spending days on trolleys before a bed can be found for them.