I welcome any moves by the HSE to make it easier for Rural GP’s to avail of the Rural Practice allowance but the HSE must continue do everything it can to ensure that more GP’s are attracted to rural areas. Anything that can be done to incentivise GP’s to come and work in more remote areas must be appreciated. Our rural families are entitled to a safe, quality service and family doctors do tremendous work but they must be given the resources to enable to carry out their work.
Thirty-two practices around the country were unfilled at the end of the 2014 and well-known Mulranny-based doctor Dr Jerry Cowley contacted me and warned about a “potential crisis” in GP care right along the western seaboard. Last June, I raised the importance of the Rural Practice Allowance in the Dáil and I am pleased to see some improvements to the scheme.
Services in rural areas have suffered many cuts but it is vital that our Doctors can remain viable within our communities. We must realise that our GP’s have suffered cuts of up to 40% in their income since successive financial emergency measures in the public interest so any assistance they can be given to attract them back into rural practices must be welcomed.