Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

General Practitioner Data

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 19 April 2018

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Ceisteanna (266)

Bernard Durkan


266. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the number of general practitioners practising here; the extent to which this number has fluctuated in the past ten years; the extent to which demographic trends are affecting requirements in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17358/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

General Practitioners play an important role in the primary care system.  The number of General Practitioners on the specialist register continues to increase – up from 2,270 in 2010 to 3,637 at the end of 2017 and the number of GPs contracted by the HSE under the GMS scheme has also risen from 2,098 in 2008 to 2,485 as of 1 April 2018.

The 2018 Health Service Capacity Review proposes a number of estimates of between 4,790 and 4,970 General Practitioners that may be required by 2031.  While it is important to note that these estimates are based on statistical models of demand and are subject to certain assumptions, the Government is aware of the manpower issues facing general practice and has taken steps to increase the numbers of General Practice training places accordingly.

In 2009, there were 120 General Practice training places available and this year it is expected that over 190 training places will be filled, an increase of around 60% over a nine year period. The number of training places will rise to 259 in coming years. There were over 400 applications for the 2018 training programme which is a significant increase of almost 50% on the number of applications from 2017.

The Government is also committed to engaging with General Practitioner representatives on necessary service improvements and contractual reforms to the current GMS contract.  This process is expected to commence in the coming weeks. The primary focus of the consultations will be on a package of measures and reforms which, if agreed, will result in an expansion in the scope of the service provided by General Practitioners to holders of medical and visit cards.

There is potential for State expenditure on General Practitioner services to increase significantly in coming years if the talks are successful. However, any revision of fees is contingent upon health contractors agreeing to the delivery of necessary service improvements and contractual reforms in line with the Government’s priorities for the health service.