Written answers

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Department of Health

General Practitioner Services

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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334. To ask the Minister for Health the total number of general practitioner practices in the country; the number of general practitioner practices at the moment that are awaiting the appointment of a permanent general practitioner to them by urban and rural areas; the steps he plans to take to address this issue though additional targeted incentives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56724/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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GPs are self-employed private practitioners. Under the GMS scheme, the HSE contracts individual GPs, and not GP practices, to provide medical services without charge to medical card and GP visit card holders. Where a vacancy arises in a practice with a GMS contract, the HSE becomes actively involved in the selection process to find a replacement GP.

As of 1 November 2021, there are 2,551 GPs with GMS contracts.   Twenty four panels, or less than 1%, are vacant. Thirteen panels are in rural areas and 11 are in urban areas. In each case a locum or other appropriate arrangement has been put in place to maintain GP services to the communities in question.

The Government is aware of the workforce issues currently facing general practice in certain areas and a number of measures to improve recruitment and retention in general practice have been implemented. 

These measures include an increase in investment in general practice by approximately 40% (€210 million) between 2019 and 2023 under the terms of the 2019 GMS GP Agreement GP. The Agreement provides for increased support for GPs working in rural practices and for those in disadvantaged urban areas, and for improvements to maternity and paternity leave arrangements.  In addition, the number of GPs entering training has been increased steadily over the past ten years, rising from 120 in 2009 to 233 in 2021, with further increases expected.

These measures will see an increase in the number of GPs working in the State, improving access to GP services for patients throughout the country.

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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335. To ask the Minister for Health the total number of general practitioner practices located in areas in which the Irish language is used as a common daily means of communication; the number of these that can provide patient services in the Irish language; the steps he plans to take to attract Irish speakers to such positions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56725/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

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