Commencement of FEMPI talks
IMO welcomes the fact that talks on FEMPI and General Practice to commence but call on Government to treat these talks and restoration plans with urgency
Without significant and early restoration of FEMPI it is difficult to see how existing service levels can be maintained in General Practice
New services requires new funding
Wednesday 10th January. The IMO has welcomed comments by the Minister for Health that talks are due to commence on FEMPI in the coming weeks. This has been an issue that the IMO has long campaigned on and in the context of talks on new GP services the IMO has always insisted that FEMPI must be addressed and GPs cannot be left behind and further disadvantaged.
Speaking today Dr Padraig McGarry, Chair of IMO GP Committee said “GPs faced cuts of 38% through FEMPI and have suffered the disastrous consequences of those cuts while trying to maintain care for patients. It is inconceivable in a time of reduced capacity in terms of GP numbers, increased patient numbers and rising costs that Government would seek to delay the restoration of FEMPI cuts. This is and should be a priority for Government.
We cannot on the one hand talk about reform and moving care to the GP setting while at the same time expect GPs to effectively fund existing services from their own resources. “
Dr McGarry went on to say “What has happened in the past decade has led to a disillusioned and demoralised profession with many due to retire and the younger GPs choosing to emigrate. GPs are struggling on a daily basis to deliver what is only an acute service to medical card and doctor visit card patients. Our health system is collapsing around us and General Practice, the cornerstone of delivering care is under siege as we try to plug the gaps. It is not sustainable and we need a two pronged approach by Government if any stability is to be brought into the system and if we can truly reform the way we deliver healthcare:
1. Urgent restoration timetable for FEMPI to bring back a decade of lost funding
2. New services require new funding to allow GPs to deliver appropriate care in the community
This has been a long battle by the IMO to even get this far and we hope the Minister and Government take an honest and realistic approach to these talks. Unless and until GPs can see the Government is serious about funding a first class GP service the ongoing problems of unfilled posts, emigration of GPs and burnout will continue.