Irish Medical Organisation

Major Campaign launch by IMO GPs: Help us to Help more

Major Campaign launch by IMO GPs
• The Resource GP campaign will push for increased resources for General Practice
• Campaign highlights the potential of General Practice to do more for the Irish health services
• 22 million GP consultations with Irish patients every year
• Free GP Visit cards for every citizen by 2016 – “we don’t believe it will happen”

11.30am Friday 8th November 2013. The Irish Medical Organisation, which represents over 2,000 GPs, has today launched a major campaign seeking increased resources for General Practice.

The campaign is seeking to promote:
• A five-fold increase in the portion of the health budget spent on General Practice with a corresponding plan for increased patient services. Currently just 2% of the Irish health budget goes to General Practice as opposed to 9% of the health budget in the UK.
• A commitment to ensuring the preservation of a community based, same-day appointment service for General Practice.
• An agreed strategy for the development of General Practice in Ireland over the coming decade with a particular focus on extending the range of services provided through General Practice.
• An action plan for the manpower needs of General Practice to address the growing shortage of GPs.

Speaking today, Dr. Ray Walley, Chairman of the GP Committee of the IMO said that the campaign would put the importance of General Practice centre stage; “Because it is so accessible, many policy makers and politicians overlook the critical role played by General Practice.” He pointed out that:
• Every year there are over 22 million clinical consultations between GPs and their patients in Ireland making General Practice the most frequently consulted part of the Irish health services.
• Successive Governments have heaped extra burdens on General Practice while withdrawing resources at the same time; the number of patients with either medical cards or GP Visit cards has increased by 38% in the past 5 years yet the spend on General Practice is down by over 7% in the same period. This is unsustainable and will bring the service to the brink of collapse.
• The WHO (World Health Organisation) has found that a strong Primary Care system is associated with better health outcomes, equity of access, more appropriate utilisation of services, cost effectiveness and increased patient satisfaction (WHO 2004).
• In the UK the Journal of Public Health Medicine has published research suggesting that an increase of just one GP per 10,000 population is associated with a 6% decrease in mortality.
Dr. Walley said that that GPs “want to be part of the solution to Ireland’s healthcare crisis.” He said; “Every year there are an estimated 22 million clinical consultations by GPs in this country. General Practise is the most accessible, effective and trusted part of the health services. It can do much more to help patients in the community and to alleviate pressures and costs in other parts of the health service. We do an enormous amount already but we want help to enable us to do even more.”

Dr. Walley said; “Successive Governments have withdrawn resources from General Practice with the result that the service is on its knees. But this is a positive campaign. We are focussing on looking for a greater proportion of current resources so we can do more for our patients. With the proper resources we could do an enormous amount to improve the delivery of health services in the community and we want to help. We want to persuade the Government of the potential that exists within General Practice and the ability within the GP profession to help transform the delivery of services to patients within their communities.”

Dr. Walley said that the campaign would include advertising, public meetings, meetings with politicians and other stakeholders and information about the value provided within General Practice.

Dr. Walley warned that the current Government’s focus on extending free GP care to everyone by 2016 was unhelpful; “firstly we don’t believe it will happen. But, secondly, we are also concerned that it’s a distraction from the urgent need to increase resources for General Practice now to improve patient outcomes today. That should be the priority.”

The campaign will commence formerly this weekend with a special meeting of IMO GPs in Dublin.

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