Irish Medical Organisation

IMO calls on Government to commit in the Budget to properly fund the medical card system so that those in most need can avail of healthcare

General Practice needs to be resourced properly to deal with patients at community level

Friday 3rd October 2014. The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has called on the Minister for Health to commit to increasing funding for the Medical Card System and to properly resource General Practice so that it can deliver upon its potential and provide much needed care for patients in a setting which is value for money and most cost effective.

Dr Ray Walley, Chairman of the IMO GP Committee of the IMO said that we continue to wait for report after report to tell us what we already know, and what GPs around the country have been saying for years – The Medical Card System should be extended on the basis of income grounds with a properly resourced allocation for discretionary cards to take into account medical need.

Speaking today Dr Walley said “the discretionary medical card scheme worked effectively for many years until the current Government began to systematically starve it of funding. It is disingenuous of Ministers to state that the system just needs “tweaking” what the system needs is proper funding and planning. Over the past four years over E160m has been taken out of the GP system, in an effort to save more money there was an outright attack on patients in receipt of medical cards and discretionary medical cards. What we need now is to plan for GP Care which is free at the point of entry on the basis evidence based medicine, such evidence clearly demonstrating that lower income groups and chronic conditions be prioritised not age cohorts as is current Government policy.”

The IMO warned against Government continuing to make promises of Free GP Care to the total population in a situation where the funding is not sufficient to deal with the current cohort of patients. GPs want to do more and can do more but only with proper resources. The current situation is unsustainable.

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