IMO warns of looming shortage of GPs in Ireland
Over 1,000 Irish qualified GPs have taken up work in NHS since 2009
Friday 21st March 2014. The IMO has warned that Ireland faces a shortage of GPs in the coming years as more and more qualified doctors leave the country to find work abroad. The Chairman of the GP Committee of the IMO, Dr. Ray Walley, warned that Government meddling with the GP contract would only further encourage young doctors to leave the country when they are qualified and work in more favourable environments abroad.
Dr. Walley said that GP numbers had failed to match population growth and growth in GMS (Medical Card) numbers in recent years. He said “Over 1,000 GPs who had qualified in Ireland have begun working with the NHS over the last five years. That's the equivalent of about 7 years output of Irish trained GPs that are going straight to the UK. A further 200 or more GPs currently working in Ireland are close to or beyond normal retirement age and are expected to leave the service in the coming years further exacerbating the situation.”
Dr. Walley said that as a result patients of GPs would have to become used to making appointments for consultations days in advance. He said; “as a direct result of Government mismanagement and under-resourcing of GP services we are facing a real shortage of GPs. If we don’t change tack now, we will look back in 5 years time and we will trace the decline of our high standards of GP services to 2014 and the mistakes that are being made now.”
Dr. Walley called on the Government to row back from its attempt to force through a radically changed contract for GMS services in the present climate. He said; “Any substantial change to the current GMS contact for GPs needs to be negotiated with the IMO as the licensed trade union for GPs in Ireland.”
He said; “the Government seems obsessed on a quick fix solution but they are simply alienating the very people they depend on to deliver the service. We need a constructive dialogue and negotiation to ensure any changes to the GMS contract are fit-for-purpose and the Government needs to sit down with the IMO now and begin this process.”