Minister must act to avert GP crisis – Brendan Smith

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Severe problems with GP shortages in Cavan & Monaghan

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith says a serious GP crisis is coming down the tracks unless urgent action is taken to recruit more doctors in rural areas.

Some towns across the constituency have reached full capacity with GP practices unable to take on new patients as they don’t have the resources to cope with the demand.

Deputy Brendan Smith explained, “This problem has been slowly increasing over the past number of years and has now become extremely serious.  There are simply not enough GPs across the two counties to cope with the number of people who need to avail of medical services.  I have been made aware of a number of practices which have reached capacity and have been forced to refuse new patients.

“This is extremely worrying, especially given the fact that the Irish Medical Organisation has predicted that a further 600 GPs are due to retire in the coming years.  Rural areas are being hardest hit and more measures are needed to attract younger GPs to these towns and villages.

“Minister Harris cannot continue to ignore the crisis that is coming down the tracks.  The local GP is an essential part of any community and measures must be taken to ensure that small towns and villages are not left without access to a doctor.

“This government needs to start recognising the value of our family doctors, appreciate the work they do and ensure that their practices are properly resourced.  Fianna Fáil brought forward proposals to retain and support rural GPs over two years ago and the Sláintecare report makes similar recommendations.

“Unless the Minister and the government wakes up to this crisis, rural areas will be left without essential GP cover and local hospitals will come under even more sustained pressure”.