Lack of GPs in rural Ireland ‘must be addressed’ – Brady

The lack of GPs in Co Cavan and nationwide is a major cause for concern. That’s according to Cathaoirleach of Cavan County Council, Cllr Philip Brady (FF) who put forward a notice of motion at this month’s meeting of the local authority calling on the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly “to urgently look at the long waiting lists to see rural GPs”.

“The lack of GPs in this country is worrying and I think that newly qualified doctors should have a clause in their contract that ensures they work in Ireland for two or three years after they qualify,” he continued.

“What we need are rural GPs and we need to give newly qualified doctors incentives to stay here in Ireland instead of leaving for another country where they will set up a practice.”

Cllr Shane P O’Reilly (Ind) pointed to the need for business acumen when sourcing GPs in the first instance. “If the focus was on providing a service instead of making money, a lot more could be achieved and none of us would be waiting two months to see a doctor,” he fumed.

The Mullagh man went on to say that there are 16 doctors working in practices covering Mullagh, Ballyjamesduff and Oldcastle and it baffled him why they would not come together and form a co-operative. He also pointed to the young educated doctors leaving these shores and added; “The fact that we are allowing the brightest of our young people to leave this country does not make sense.”

Cllr O’Reilly also highlighted another difficulty that is emerging at GP practices across the county and asked GPs to “show some respect” to their patients. “I would make an urgent appeal to GPs to show respect to their patients,” he continued.

“Having an 80-year-old person stand outside a surgery speaking through an intercom about their personal and private business while other patients stand in a queue behind them also endeavouring to access the GP service is absolutely reprehensible behaviour. There needs to be a major overhaul of GP services in this country; services should be provided in small co-op type settings and the HSE has to come up with a plan to devise better contracts.”

The motion received unanimous support across the council chamber.