Irish Medical Organisation

IMO launch campaign to raise awareness of the impact of FEMPI cuts

Funding to GP services has been cut by 38% through FEMPI 

Until there is a roadmap for FEMPI reversal there is a question as to whether General Practice can sustain any transfer of work from the hospital system 

The IMO is to launch a #ReverseFEMPI campaign to raise awareness amongst politicians and patients on the negative impact that the 38% FEMPI cuts to General Practice funding has had on the service and the consequences for the future of the GP service if the cuts are not reversed.   

The cuts introduced under FEMPI have reduced payments to GPs 38% since 2008 and have directly led to an unstable financial model which is not attractive to existing or younger GPs. 

Speaking today Dr Padraig McGarry, Chair of the IMO GP Committee said “General Practitioners, like other members of society, took on these cuts during the financial crisis and did their utmost to continue to deliver services to patients.  However, 10 years later the traditional GP model is no longer financially sustainable as a direct result of the cuts imposed and patient services are not capable of being maintained, let alone expanded.  The demographic of working GPs in Ireland clearly shows that over the next few years almost 700 GPs are due to retire and it is very difficult to see a scenario where these retirements will be replaced with younger GPs.  General Practice in Ireland is simply not attractive as a medical career. GPs around the country are struggling to maintain services, many lists are closed to new patients and younger GPs are choosing to leave rather than deal with a very uncertain future.  This is all happening at a time when our elderly population is increasing, the incidence of chronic disease is rising and patient needs are becoming increasingly complex.” 

The IMO is calling on Government to: 

  1. Reverse FEMPI to stabilise existing GP services
  2. Resource new services in General Practice such as Chronic Disease management and procedures that might otherwise be done in the hospital setting
  3. Develop a coherent roadmap to deal with manpower crisis in General Practice and the need to encourage more GPs to stay in Ireland 

All the reports on health reform point very clearly to the need to deliver more care in General Practice.  The IMO have been in negotiations with the Department of Health and the HSE for the past year on new services, unfortunately while we are all agreed on the rationale and the need for reform there is little evidence that the investment required is forthcoming. 

Dr McGarry said “General Practice is proven to be value for money to the State and care delivered in General Practice can result in real improvements to patient care.  But we must also face up to the reality that it is not simply a matter of transferring work to an already overburdened service.  We not only have to acknowledge that General Practice needs funding if the service is to be maintained and developed but actually commit the necessary resources.  GPs can and want to do more but in an environment where cuts as a result of austerity are not reversed it is difficult to see how GPs will be in a position to take on new work. Government has already committed to and commenced the roll back of the FEMPI cuts to other groups including all public servants and it is critical that the GP service is treated equitably. ”

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