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GPs are teetering on the brink of insolvency

10 Oct 2014

The ICGP has published its pre-Budget 2015 submission on behalf of the “most widely used yet underfunded area of the Irish health system”.

Dr Margaret Riordan

GPs are consistently being asked to provide more services at a lower cost and this has led to many operating close to insolvency, according to the College. It is calling for the Government to prioritise investment in general practice for the future needs of all patients, support general practice in rural and deprived areas, and move towards universal healthcare in a properly planned way that will not overwhelm GPs.

The ICGP also wants the Government to ensure a future for graduates and plan for a growing and ageing population.

“We are calling on the Government to restore GP income by reversing FEMPI cuts. GPs are willing to play their part in reforming Ireland’s health services for our future needs. However, we cannot continue to do more with less as it has led to practices becoming non-viable,” reads the submission.

Dr Margaret O’Riordan, ICGP Medical Director, said last year’s budget removed more than €300 million from primary care. “This led to significant distress for many of our patients as seen in the disastrous medical probity exercise.”

She added: “At a macro level, the reductions in GMS payments in recent years have reduced turnover for GPs whereas, as in most businesses, overheads have increased. This has led to many GPs operating close to insolvency. At a micro level, payments from the HSE do not cover the cost of some services such as suturing.”

She said the removal of distance codes in rural areas has also added significant additional costs for GPs.

“Small changes, such as improving access to diagnostics, could have a very significant impact… by reducing the burden on secondary care, and freeing general practice capacity,” she added.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times