GPs are self-employed private practitioners and may establish practices at a place of their own choosing. Under the GMS scheme, the HSE contracts GPs to provide medical services without charge to medical card and GP visit card holders. Where a vacancy arises in a practice with a GMS contract, the HSE becomes actively involved in the selection process to find a replacement GP.
The Government, aware of the workforce issues currently facing general practice, 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 233 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.
In relation to the availability of GP services in Lucan specifically, as this relates to a services matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly on this matter, as soon as possible.