Written answers

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Department of Health

General Practitioner Services

Photo of Richard O'DonoghueRichard O'Donoghue (Limerick County, Independent)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

231. To ask the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the stress and worry patients in small towns and villages in rural Ireland are experiencing due to the closure of many general practitioner practices (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12165/22]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The Government is aware of the workforce issues currently facing general practice, including the limited access to GP services in certain areas. We are working to ensure patients across the country continue to have access to GP services and that general practice is sustainable in all areas into the future.

Recent developments in relation to general practice, in particular the 2019 Agreement on Contractual Reform and Service Development, have helped to re-establish general practice in Ireland as an attractive career choice. The additional investment, which will amount to €210 million annually once the Agreement is fully implemented, provides for an increase in capitation fees, improved maternity and paternity arrangements as well as enhanced supports for rural practices. In addition, targeted funding of €2 million will also be set aside to provide additional support to practices in deprived urban areas.

Several efforts to increase the number of practising GPs have been undertaken in recent years. The number of entrants to GP training has increased from 120 in 2009 to 233 in 2021, with further increases planned. Changes have been made to the entry provisions to the GMS scheme to facilitate more flexible/shared GMS contracts, and to the retirement provisions for GPs under the GMS scheme. An enhanced supports package for rural GP practices was also introduced.

Importantly, the 2019 GP Agreement includes a commitment to undertake a strategic review of GP services within the lifetime of the Agreement, to examine how best to ensure the provision of GP services in Ireland for the future. Work on the review is to commence this year. The review will examine the broad range of issues affecting general practice, and will set out measures necessary to deliver a sustainable service into the future.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.