Public expenditure on general practice in Ireland, using 2014 Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) data, amounts to 3 per cent of the entire HSE budget.
In the UK, 11 per cent of the health budget goes to general practice.
The ICGP is looking for general practice funding to be increased, a new contract for GPs to be advanced and for structural reform in a number of key areas, particularly community-based chronic illness management.
Dr Brendan O’Shea, Director Post-Graduate Resource Centre, ICGP, said: “These reforms are necessary to enable GPs to manage patients with chronic disease in general practice which will reduce OPD attendances, reduce ED visits and bed occupancy.
“Supporting general practice is the key to sustainable healthcare; through prioritising a new GP contract, enabling the management of chronic illnesses in the community, building general practice capacity and increasing resources.”
The College recommends negotiation with GPs around an anonymised aggregated data extraction system, enabling real time data collection for purposes of service development and safety. “We recommend the urgent provision of primary care based integrated national electronic health records, using a unique patient identifier. Failure of secondary care to computerise is an outstanding weakness in the Irish health system,” stated the ICGP.
Inclusion of a medications management programme in the GP contract is also being sought. This would enable safer prescribing and cost savings for the State and individual patients. “ICGP can put in place the educational element of this, collaborating with RCPI and The National Pharmacoeconomics Centre.”
Building access to diagnostic services and to primary care and mental health services are among the other key points in the ICGP submission.