Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has challenged the government’s commitment to primary care after his party, Sinn Féin, received new figures showing one in five primary care centres across the State have no General Practitioner.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“The figures release to my colleague and Sinn Féin Health spokesperson, Louise O’Reilly TD, from the HSE highlights once again that the current government are not serious about a State wide delivery of primary care.

“Across the State one in five primary care centres have no GP and primary care multi-disciplinary teams are missing vital staff members.

“It’s no wonder that people are arriving at overcrowded Accident and Emergency departments and that waiting lists are getting longer, because there is no alternative to hospital care being provided in many areas.

“There is also no evidence to suggest that sufficient multi-disciplinary teams are in place and where they are in place there remains a huge gap in essential staff.

“In the next 20 years, according to GP representatives, 800 GPs are set to retire and with no viable plan in place this makes these figures even more worrying.

“Areas like Fettercairn in Tallaght that have a population of about 6,000 people still don’t have a GP based in the area. Former Fine Gael Minister for Health, James Reilly, actually withdrew funding for primary care centres in Tallaght and invested the funding in his own constituency.”

Crowe continued:

“For many residents living in Dublin South West these figures will come as no real surprise, particularly those parents who are years waiting for speech and language supports for their children, many of whom have profound needs.

“In February 713 people were waiting to be seen for an initial assessment. 244 of them have been waiting for longer than one year. All of those waiting over one year are under 18 years of age, with the majority of these children awaiting specialist disability multidisciplinary team assessments and interventions. In addition, 313 individuals are waiting for initial intervention following assessments.

“The current situation facing children with profound needs is unacceptable. The Minister for Health must tackle the waiting list for speech and language supports for children in Dublin South West as a priority. That means urgently identifying key personnel and allocating resources to tackle the current waiting list and long backlog of children waiting to be given speech and language supports.”