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Home   /  Local News  /  LONERGAN RECEIVES SUPPORT FOR RURAL GP’S AT COUNCIL MEETING

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LONERGAN RECEIVES SUPPORT FOR RURAL GP’S AT COUNCIL MEETING

Independent Tipperary County Councillor representing Clonmel Borough District, Martin Lonergan has welcomed the unanimous support he received from the elected members at the February meeting of the Local Authority in support of Rural GP Practices.

Moving his motion Cllr Lonergan said, “The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) has been campaigning for almost 2 years to have the Rural Practice Allowance put on a proper footing to ensure the survival of vital primary care services, particularly in more rural and isolated areas. The NAGP was instrumental in supporting the “No Doctor No village campaign” as well as the successful High Court action taken by Dr. Liam Glynn to have his Rural Practice Allowance restored.

We as a County Council must also acknowledge the enormous efforts made by the NAGP group in persuading the Minister for Health that uneconomic general practices needed to be offered this financial lifeline to support patients in their communities and to take the pressure off secondary services in regional hospitals.

The Rural Practice Allowance was originally put in place to support GP care in rural Ireland. However the last Government has targeted this scheme for cutbacks since entering office and this has resulted in a decline of GP practices.

We now have a significant shortage in Full time GP's taking up positions in Rural Practices. Rural Tipperary will suffer the most as a result of this GP shortage as practices relocate to large urban areas.

We have already seen the effect that the cutbacks and uncertainty of the Rural Practice Allowance have had here in Tipperary. As we sit in this meeting today, areas like Bansha remain without a fulltime GP.

If the current trend continues then GP care will only be available in large urban centres. Rural communities have already lost their post offices, Garda stations, banking services and now their healthcare is under threat so the incoming Government needs to put in place a comprehensive plan to retain community based GP care.”

Concluding Cllr. Lonergan said, “The Rural Practice Allowance must be overhauled to make it attractive for newly qualified GP's to set up practice in rural areas and I move that we, as the Local Authority here in Tipperary must be seen to support this call.”