Tuesday 21 November 2017

Hospitals will not cope if struggling GP service fails

General Practitioners' incomes are down by almost half as private fees implode and GMS cuts take effect

Dr Ciara Kelly
Dr Ciara Kelly
Dr Ciara Kelly

Dr Ciara Kelly

LAST week I gave an interview in the Sunday Independent where I discussed my views on the health service among other things. But a problem has arisen.

You see, while giving my views on the health service as it stands today, there was also mention of something I had written on centralising cancer care in 2008. The two got conflated, unfortunately, giving a totally erroneous impression. To set the record straight, let me state my actual position on the Irish health service here today.

It's no overstatement to say that the health service currently is in crisis. General practice as we know it is struggling to survive. GPs around the country are taking the unprecedented steps of charging their GMS patients for services not covered under the medical card contract. Practices are closing – one GP told me recently she hasn't been able to draw her salary since last June. Another told me they're basically insolvent and rotating which partner gets paid each month. Established rural GPs are emigrating. Other practices are no longer providing services that were once routine such as phlebotomy, flu vaccinations and 24-hour blood pressure monitoring.

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