Wednesday, 13 January 2016
Order of Business
I join my colleagues in wishing everybody, on all sides of the House, a successful, healthy and, I hope, prosperous new year.
The rural GP is a bedrock of rural society. We have phenomenal GPs the length and breadth of the country. The GPs who operate in rural areas of County Clare have the absolute respect, loyalty and support of the people living in those areas. This was evident, in particular, in the past few weeks at public meetings called to discuss rural practices and the problem of attracting young doctors into rural practices. Young doctors have no confidence that they could make a living in rural practices. Owing to other commitments I was not in a position to attend either of the two public meetings held, but I received a full report on them. It is quite shocking to think GPs have to hold public meetings to gain basic benefits. At the last meeting held one week ago GPs requested that action be taken immediately and that commitments be made and honoured within two weeks. I do not see these commitments being made, honoured or followed up.Will the Leader organise a debate on rural GPs in which the Minister for Health can update us not just on restoring what has been taken from GPs, which should never have been taken because of the vital role they play in society, but on his and the HSE's plans to support and develop rural GP practices? Health is the most important thing to all citizens but those living in rural Ireland, particularly rural Clare, worry more about this because of the decline in many services. I want to see all the requests the GPs have made honoured and to hear the long-term plan for them. This House is the ideal place to have that discussion.