Fianna Fáil pledges to protect and resource the role of family GPs

Party will increase Rural Practice Allowance to €25,000

Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Mayo Lisa Chambers has slammed the Government’s record on the health and says community based services are central to a functioning primary care system. Under Fine Gael and Labour, GP services have been decimated, with some rural parts of the country left without access to a family doctor.

Cllr. Chambers commented, “Rural communities across Mayo are suffering from a major lack of GP services, with as many as 15 villages across the county in danger of losing their local practice over the coming years. In fact, it’s estimated that across the country, around one in 12 practices are under threat of closure due to their financial situation. This problem is being further exacerbated by the number of GPs who are retiring and aren’t being replaced.

“This trend has to be tackled head on and reversed. One of the first things Fianna Fáil would do would be to increase the Rural Practice Allowance to €25,000 and examine the option of restoring the distance coding allowance, which sees doctors compensated for the large distances they have to travel when operating out of rural practices. This will make it more commercially viable for GPs to set up in rural Ireland and will make it more attractive for doctors to relocate to rural practices.

“Fianna Fáil recognises that GPs are the bedrock of our primary healthcare system and we are committed to rebalancing the health budget towards primary care. Negotiating a new contract with GPs to ensure that primary care is a priority for us.

“A strong primary and community care setting is invaluable and will ensure that people are treated efficiently in a local setting reducing the need for hospital admissions”.