|Dr Karena Hanley, National Director of GP Training, ICGP; and Dr Brendan O'Shea, Director, Postgraduate Resource Centre, ICGP|
The Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP), the professional and training body for family doctors in Ireland, has warned of a growing shortage of community-based family doctors unless urgent action is taken to attract and retain general practitioners, especially in rural and deprived areas.
The ICGP highlighted recent research predicting shortages of over 1,000 doctors in general practice in the next 10 years. Currently, a total of 36% of GPs are aged over 55 years, and 16% of new GP graduates emigrate immediately on completion of training. In some parts of rural Ireland and deprived urban communities, it has not been possible to replace retired doctors, and increasing numbers of medical card lists remain vacant.
Irish general practice reached a tipping point during the winter of 2015, and is now in crisis, according to the ICGP.
Dr Brendan O'Shea and Dr Karena Hanley told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health on Thursday 2 February that the crisis in recruitment and retention of doctors could be solved by delivering a new GP contract in 2017, by supports for emerging graduates and more flexible working conditions..
The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health discussed Primary Care particularly in relation to general practice manpower and capacity issues.
Click here for a webcast of the meeting (Starts at 0:33:32)
The Irish College of General Practitioners has over 4,000 members, and is the postgraduate training body for general practice in Ireland.
Dr Brendan O'Shea is the Director of the Postgraduate Resource Centre, ICGP.
Dr Karena Hanley is the National Director of GP Training, ICGP.