Further to the IMO submission on Primary Care Facilities (a copy of which can be found here) we wish to advise members that the Indecon Report to the Department of Health has now been published and it includes many of the policy measures recommended by the IMO to better enable GPs to develop and operate primary care centres. A copy of this report can be read here.
The specific IMO proposals which have been identified as recommendations are:
- tax incentives for GPs to develop primary care centres or to invest in primary care specialised equipment;
- a multifaceted approach to the development of primary care centres including provision for both State-built centres, which can be leased to GPs, and centres developed by GPs;
- tax incentives for GPs to invest in their own practices;
- recommendations against tax incentives for passive, or non-GP, investment in primary care centres, to better ensure that GPs will remain in control of such centres; and
- enhanced consultations with GPs on their requirements for primary care centre development.
The Indecon Report highlights the worsening difficulties that are faced by general practice in Ireland, noting that the number of patient visits is likely to increase by 20% over the next fifteen years, and double in the age 70+ patient demographic. While this report does not fully address the enormity of manpower, resource, and support problems faced by Irish general practice, it nevertheless acknowledges general practice’s role at the centre of the health service in Ireland, and does provide some workable policy solutions.
However unless Government acts now and invests in general practice the problems that beset our services will only get worse. The time for reports is over, solutions have been identified and it is beholden upon the Department of Health to take action and engage with the IMO on how the recommendations can be implemented so as to ensure the development of supporting infrastructure for General Practice in Ireland.