IMO GPs call on Government for “re-assessment of priorities in respect of medical cards and GP visit cards”
Irish Medical Organisation

IMO GPs call on Government for “re-assessment of priorities in respect of medical cards and GP visit cards”

On campaign for increasing resources for General Practice…“we need a more strategic approach to policy development in healthcare ….at the moment its always politics led and that’s not working.”

GPs in the Irish Medical Organisation have called on the Government to “re-assess” their priorities in respect of the extension of medical cards and free GP visit cards.

Speaking after a meeting on Saturday attended by 150 IMO GPs from across the country, Dr. Ray Walley, Chairman of the GP Committee of the IMO said that GP members continued to report extensive unease amongst patients across the country about the withdrawal of discretionary cards held, in some cases, for years. He said - “even patients who don’t have cards or who aren’t losing their cards are complaining about the callousness of the new approach to discretionary Medical Cards.”

Dr. Walley said the Minister for Health was racing ahead with proposals to extend free GP visit cards to all children under the age of six in the coming months and to extend these cards to all citizens by 2016; “I believe it can not be justified to extend these cards so widely while at the same time withdrawing medical cards from patients who are utterly dependent on them. This is a question of priorities and in health, we have to focus scarce resources on those who need our help most.”

The meeting of IMO GPs marked the formal launch of the new #resourceGP campaign. The campaign is seeking to have the issue of General Practice put centre-stage in the debate on healthcare; “With over 22 million clinical consultations a year in Ireland, General Practice is key to the effective working of the entire health services yet it is under resourced and over-stretched.”

Dr. Walley said that GPs were looking for a more strategic approach to policy development in health services; “we need to move away from an overtly political approach to policy development and towards a more strategic approach. If we can do this there is a real possibility of getting a better return on the very significant investment we make in health services. “

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