Fianna Fáil Deputy Leader and TD for Mayo Dara Calleary has accused the Health Minister of ignoring the impending GP crisis in rural areas.

Deputy Calleary has been informed by the HSE that the GP in Glenamoy Health Centre has resigned and no replacement has been found.

Deputy Calleary commented, “This is a very serious situation.  This latest resignation will leave only three GPs in the entire Erris area.  This is a huge geographical distance for three GPs to cover and it will increase the pressure not only on the existing GP service, but also on the whole Erris community.  It will also create additional problems for the ED at Mayo University Hospital as patients are more likely to attend if they cannot get GP cover.

“The latest Irish Medical Organisation data predicts that 41% of GPs in Mayo will retire over the next five to seven years.  Despite this, the government appears to have no plan to tackle this.  As is already being experience in Erris, rural areas will suffer the most.

“Minister Harris cannot continue to ignore the crisis that is coming down the tracks.  The local GP is an essential part of any community and measures must be taken to ensure that small towns and villages are not left without access to a doctor.

“This government needs to start recognising the value of our family doctors, appreciate the work they do and ensure that their practices are properly resourced.  Fianna Fáil brought forward proposals to retain and support rural GPs over two years ago and the Sláintecare report makes similar recommendations.

“Unless the Minister and the government wakes up to this crisis, rural areas will be left without essential GP cover and local hospitals will come under even more sustained pressure”.