Where a patient who holds a medical or GP visit card experiences difficulty in finding a GP to accept him/her as a patient, the HSE has the power to assign that person to a GP's GMS patient list where the person has unsuccessfully applied to at least three GPs in the area who hold GMS contracts (or fewer GPs if there are fewer GPs in the area).
Where a vacancy arises in a practice with a GMS contract, the HSE becomes actively involved in the recruitment process to find a replacement GP. There are currently no GMS GP vacancies in Monasterevin.
The Government is aware of the workforce issues currently facing general practice, including the limited access to GP services in certain areas, and has implemented a number of measures to improve recruitment and retention in general practice.
These measures include an increase in investment in general practice by approximately 40% (€210 million) between 2019 and 2023 under the terms of the 2019 GMS GP Agreement GP. The Agreement provides for increased support for GPs working in rural practices and for those in disadvantaged urban areas, and for improvements to maternity and paternity leave arrangements. In addition, the number of GPs entering training has been increased steadily over the past ten years, rising from 120 in 2009 to 214 in 2020, with a further increase foreseen in 2021. The ICGP noted a record number of applications for the 2021 GP training programme.
These measures will see an increase in the number of GPs working in the State, improving access to GP services for patients throughout the country.