Rural GP Service Improvements Announced

The Department of Health say they'll be examining Irish population growth as part of the investment.

A number of initiatives have been announced to improve rural GP services.

The Irish College of General Practitioners is welcoming the supports and believe they will address the doctor shortage.

An increase in training places, a bigger focus on placing international doctors in rural areas and a strategic task force are all set to tackle the issue of doctors leaving the profession.

350 GP training places will be offered in the next few weeks which represents a 22% rise on the 2023 figures.

The International Medical Graduates Rural GP programme was set up last year and plans to recruit 250 experienced international GPs for rural practices by the end of the year.

Elsewhere, the Department of Health has established a task force with a specific aim to address the expansion of the Irish population and plan doctor services around it.

The ICGP say they recognise the longstanding challenges facing patients in securing timely access to their GP and hope these measures will have a real impact on reducing the deficit.

It comes after concerns were raised by the the Rural Independents Group in the Dáil yesterday over the lack of GP services in rural areas. 

They say the majority of rural GP’s are operating at maximum capacity and cannot take on new patients and that two-thirds of rural GPs are currently unable to take on new patients.

Laois-Offaly Independent TD Carol Nolan says many constituents have told her they can't get access to a GP. 

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