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Calls for ‘urgent action’ on GP shortage


CHANGE NEEDED Louisburgh native Dr Maureen Kelly at the launch of her report at the University of Galway last week. Pic: Martina Regan

Oisín McGovern

AN academic from Louisburgh has called for urgent action to address the shortage of general practitioners in Ireland. Dr Maureen Kelly, an Associate Professor at the School of Medicine in the University of Galway is the lead author of ‘Medical Student to General Practitioner - an Urgent Call to Action’.
A native of Kilsallagh, Dr Kelly is a lecturer in general practice and and has spent over 20 years in academia.
The report, launched in association with the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP), represented a call to action to make general practice more attractive in Ireland.
It made a total of 14 recommendations, including the expansion of the number of GP intern places from 50 to 200 and the creation of ‘GP Hubs’ to be attached to each medical school.
It also suggests ‘encouraging all GP trainees’ to be involved in the education of medical students.
The report is described as a ‘joint call for action seeks a more formal and structured collaboration between the ICGP Specialist Training Programme and the Medical Schools Departments of General Practice’.
Dr Kelly said: “We need to develop and implement a national funding model that supports the hosting and delivery of undergraduate general practice placements for medical students in all medical schools. The report is a forward-thinking and ambitious approach to GP education. It emphasises the importance of viewing GP education as a continuum.”
Mr Fintan Foy, Chief Executive Officer of the ICGP, said: “The ICGP knows that not enough graduates of Irish medical schools select general practice as a career, which leaves our long-term workforce planning in a highly vulnerable position. This joint report with the AUDGPI sets out 14 recommendations to change that.”
Commenting on the report, Prof Martin O’Donnell, Dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Galway, said: “The future success of healthcare systems is critically dependent on our ability to evolve. This report calls for bold and innovative action, inter-organisational collaboration and a multi-faceted approach. In line with the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences FutureCare Strategy we are committed to addressing the shortages of GPs, particularly across the West and North-West region, and to supporting many of the recommendations in this report.”