The Irish College of General Practitioners has called for an investment in general practice in the forthcoming Budget.
You can look at their release on their submission here.
The thrust of the document says that €300 million was removed from primary care in the last Budget and it asks the government to
- Invest in general practice for the future needs of all patients
- Support general practice in rural and deprived areas
- Move towards universal healthcare in a properly planned way that won’t overwhelm general practice
- Ensure a future for graduates
- Plan for the impact of a growing and aging population.
None of that is likely to happen based on Leo Varadkar’s response recently to the GP protest in Dublin as I explain here. Neither is there much statistical analysis of the extent of the crisis in general practice around the country.
Unfortunately, if there is a crisis – and we all know that there is – then some evidence has to be produced to demonstrate that in order to put pressure on the government to change its mind and actually follow its own policies regarding primary care.
Doctors on their own can be ignored. They mightn’t like that concept, but it’s a political truth. It’s only when their issue becomes the people’s issue that any action will be taken.
Look at the concern over the rigging of waiting lists. We all know much worse has happened in primary care in terms of patients being fobbed off by promises, obfuscations and outright lies. If those patients knew what the long-term effects of the cutbacks in general practice would mean for the future, they wouldn’t stand for it. And that would mean the government wouldn’t be able to enforce those cuts.
I would like to applaud the ICGP for making a pre-Budget submission, but it’s going to take a lot more evidence and a much louder voice before the government change tack.
Remember, the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar cannot magic the money out of the air. There will be no reform in health unless it’s okayed by Howlin, Kenny and Co.
So all credit to the ICGP, but GP’s need to make a much bigger noise and get more people involved if they want to see real changes.