Fianna Fáil TD for Kerry John Brassil says his party will bolster and boost GP services if it gets elected to government.

As part of Fianna Fáil’s healthcare plan, it is committing to providing additional GPs by creating more GP training places and increasing the rural GP allowance to €30,000.

Deputy Brassil said, “There is already a crisis in GP care, with patients having to wait days or even weeks in some cases to get an appointment with their doctor. And unfortunately, these are the lucky ones – I have been talking to GPs in Kerry who have had to close their lists – essentially turn people away from joining their practices because they simply don’t have the capacity.

“The current situation is bordering on dangerous. Forcing people to wait for days on end is not only cruel, it could lead to a deterioration in their condition, ultimately meaning that they may need more acute treatment. People are being forced to go to their nearest Emergency Department with relatively minor issues because they can’t get a GP appointment and are understandably worried that they may get worse. This is just piling the pressure on already overburdened ED services.

“Worryingly, unless the issues facing GPs are addressed urgently, the situation will only get worse as around 700 GPs are due to retire over the next five years.

“People should have proper access to care in the community and Fianna Fáil is committed to improving conditions for GPs, and therefore for patients.

“We want to negotiate a new contract to underpin General Practice for the next 30 years to include issues such as Women’s Health Programmes, Out of Hours Services and Services to patients in Nursing Homes. We’ll also increase GP training places to 274 and protect rural GP practices by increasing the allowance to €30,000.

“GPs are, and should be, the first port of call for people who are unwell. Nobody should be forced to visit an ED or wait for weeks for an appointment. Fianna Fáil will invest in our primary care system, starting with GPs”, concluded Deputy Brassil.