Fine Gael foot-dragging on GP pay reflects their overall attitude to Health

Issued 4 April 2018

Speaking at the Wicklow Labour Party selection convention for Jack O'Connor, Labour Party Leader, Brendan Howlin TD, has said that it is time for Fine Gael to stop dragging their feet on GP pay.

Deputy Howlin said:

“There are two major issues impacting profoundly on Irish life at the moment, housing and health. The Labour Party has been providing solutions to the housing crisis, but we constantly hear that there are no quick fixes.

“We know of the extreme pressures in our health service - waiting lists and the trolley crisis to name two. Expert advice tells us that the pressures in our hospitals can be eased with more investment in primary and community care.

“In order to ensure that our primary care system can operate in a functional and meaningful way, we need to ensure that GPs are on board.

“We've heard a great deal about pay this week at the teachers' conferences. Labour's position on that is clear. The emergency is over. The time for pay equality has arrived.

“There is another group in our society that were impacted by the FEMPI cuts that have had no restoration. GPs play an important role in our health care system. We want them to play a greater role too. We want to them to enhance the services they offer. We want them to displace some of the burden on the hospital sector.

“There is a political consensus to this effect contained in the Sláintecare report - a report supported by Labour but gathering dust in Simon Harris' office.

“Fine Gael have occupied the Department of Health for seven years now. They're out of time, out of puff and out of ideas.

“It's time for the Government to make a gesture to GPs to kick start discussion on the new contract. FEMPI restorations are a moral imperative.

“GPs are too important to the future of our heath system. Judging by newspaper reports Fine Gael backbenchers think so too.

“It’s time for the Minister for Public Expenditure and Minister for Health to realise this and take immediate action to keep GPs in our health system. “