GPs warn of surgeries being “overwhelmed” by 4 million additional patient visits if plans for free GP visit for all are introduced
GPs accuse Minister White of ignoring evidence that doesn’t suit his plans.
Tuesday 18th February 2014. The GP Committee of the IMO has warned that GP surgeries will be “overwhelmed” by patients if the Government pursues its current objectives of introducing free GP visits for all citizens without any increase in resources for General Practice
Dr. Ray Walley, Chairman of the GP Committee of the IMO, said that claims made yesterday (Monday) by the Minister for Primary Care, Alex White TD, that there was “no evidence” that visit numbers would increase when free GP visits were introduced were “mistaken”.
Dr. Walley said; “The Minister is wrong and his views are not supported by the research. The Government has consistently used incorrect visitation rates as a starting point when the true figure, backed up by published research in the Irish Medical Journal, is 24 million consultations a year in General Practice. The research further demonstrates that demand for visits to GP services is likely to increase by 4 million visits a year (16%) if the Government extends free GP services to all as planned by 2016. The research also confirms that public patients (Medical Cards / GP Visit Card holders) visit a GP on average almost 8 times a year (7.72) whereas private patients visit their GP on average just over 3 times a year (3.3).”
Dr. Walley added that the Government plans for Universal Health and GP Services which are free to patients are in disarray with even Government Departments failing to agree, this chaos will create untold problems for patients. “ General Practice has been decimated by a series of cuts amounting to €160m, we have consistently called for proper planning, adequate resources and negotiations, until that happens there is no possibility that General Practice can deliver upon its potential and that is bad news for patients who rely upon a same day quality service.”