Ederney GP Dr Brendan O’Hare has said that the GP crisis is ‘15 years in the making’ due to ‘poor central planning’ by The Department of Health.
“We are in a crisis, it is actually beyond a crisis with regards to recruitment of new GPs and we in Fermanagh and Tyrone have a very large number of GPs over 55 who will be retiring in the next couple of years and there is an absolute lack of replacements; it is a frightening situation,” he said.
A number of local retirements and resignations have already taken place over recent months and years with more set to leave. This comes after Dr Declan Morgan from the Trillick surgery handed in his resignation earlier this year and two GPs left Maple Healthcare Lisnaskea.
“I was part of The Northern Ireland GP Committee (NIGPC) where we liaise directly with the Department of Health and 15 years ago GP leaders raised this issue with the department and warned them that they were failing to train enough general practitioners but for many years this has been neglected and ignored and now we are paying the price,” said Dr O’Hare.
Last month, The Department of Health said in a statement they were aware of the “significant GP workforce issues in the Western Trust area” and said they were going to increase the number of GP training places and enhance the services of general practices.
Dr O’Hare said, “Recently, The Department of Health has increased the numbers of training places from 65 to 111 but it will take time for the new supply of GPs to feed through and for whatever reason rural areas tend to be suffering in terms of the numbers of GPs available.”
“People seem to think it all happens in the hospital, it doesn’t, 90 percent of all patients seen in the health service are seen in general practice and we are going to go through a very difficult time over the next few years.”
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