Incentives needed to help GPs set up new practices – Galway senator

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A Galway senator has called for a new grant to help GPs with the costs of setting up new practices.

Senator Seán Kyne said that despite an increase in the number of GPs in training, there is a serious shortage of GPs in communities, both urban and rural.

At a recent Oireachtas Health Committee, GPs spoke about the challenges facing primary care services, with a shortage of practices in rural areas and long waiting lists in urban centres.

“GPs, along with practice nurses, administrative and other staff, are the first line of defence in our health service,” said the Fine Gael senator.

“We know that early intervention in health matters leads to better outcomes for patients and reduces pressure on hospitals.”

He said however that tere have been positive developments, including the new 2019 agreement with GPs, the increase in the number of primary care centres and the increase in the number of trainee GPs.

“However, the costs of setting up a practice, including identifying and acquiring suitable premises, setting up new IT systems, recruiting medical and administrative staff, among other issues, are significant barriers for GPs, particularly those starting off in their careers. Added to the challenge is the fact that we have a growing but ageing population.

“We need to tackle these challenges head on, and I will be raising the need to introduce an establishment grant or tax relief to encourage and enable GPs to set up new practices directly with Minister Stephen Donnelly,” said Senator Kyne.