Government indifference to Monaghan GP crisis must end – Matt Carthy
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has said that counties like Cavan and Monaghan are experiencing a GP crisis because successive Fianna Fail and Fine Gael governments have abandoned the concept of family doctors in the constituency.
Carthy, who is running in the General Election for the Cavan/Monaghan constituency, claimed that the number of doctors who can no longer accept new patients is at crisis levels while delays in securing appointments is causing huge frustration. Governments have been warned by GPs, patients and Sinn Féin representatives of this impending situation for years but chose to ignore all warnings.
Matt Carthy said:
“I regularly speak to people who tell of their difficulty in securing an appointment with a GP. I have spoken to GPs who are angered because they are on the front line of this government failure.
“This time last year, GPs, led by the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP), protested outside the Dáil. They rightly accused successive Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments of ‘abandoning’ general practice. But, we have seen no corrective action since.
“On RTÉ’s Clare Byrne Live Health debate County Monaghan was referenced as the most neglected county in the state when it comes to GP care. That is an indictment of every Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil that has kept this government in power.
“There are simply not enough GPs in Monaghan to serve the people here. 70% of practices outside of Dublin are not in a position to register any new patients as they are already operating beyond capacity. And, there are over 700 GPs due to retire within the next 5 years, a potential timebomb for our primary health services.
“Dr. Denis McCauley, the Chair of the IMO GP Committee, has actually highlighted Monaghan as the county facing the most severe shortage due to no new GPs replacing those that are retiring. According to the IMO one in every four GPs plan to retire in the next five years but that rate is almost twice as high in Monaghan. Many of the doctors set to retire in the coming years have no one to replace them.
“Monaghan is clearly bearing the brunt of government failure in this area. If part of the next government Sinn Féin are committed to addressing this issue as a matter of urgency. We will reverse the cuts which were imposed over the past decade and we will invest in capacity of general practice in Cavan/Monaghan and across the state. Sinn Féin want to ensure that everyone is entitled to two free GP visits per year as part of our commitment to give families and workers a break but we recognise that, in order to deliver that, we need to invest in GP services and incentivise new doctors into the system.
“This will be part of a comprehensive investment plan in our public services that will benefit communities like those I seek to represent in Cavan/Monaghan. We need a change of government to deliver that investment and Sinn Féin are determined to lead that change”.