Dr Emmet Kerin, NAGP president Picture: Michael Martin
GENERAL practitioners, members of the public and health sector workers discussed primary healthcare reform at a conference hosted by the National Association of GPs this week.
The event, which took place at the Strand Hotel on Monday night, featured a panel discussion with guest speakers Dr Edward Walsh, president emeritus, University of Limerick; NAGP president, Dr Emmet Kerin; Prof Paul Finucane, head of the Graduate Entry Medical School, UL; and was chaired by Sunday Business Post health editor, Susan Mitchell.
Dr Kerin, from Monaleen, spoke about the union’s aims to get a “consensus” with the Government to form a long-term strategy for primary care in Ireland.
During his speech, he called for “political reform” and that primary care policies, based on five-year Government cycles, “have failed”.
“The strategy needs to be patient-centric, and when we pitch ideas, we need to show the evidence how it will help patients,” he said.
Dr Walsh said that Ireland “needs an improved integrated IT system”, similar to Estonia’s healthcare, in order to better utilise frontline healthcare staff.
Prof Finucane criticised the current “two-tier health system, where access is determined by wealth as opposed to need”, but also commended services provided by the local primary and secondary healthcare sector.
See the Limerick Leader weekend editions for a full report on this week’s NAGP conference.