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Decline in Donegal's rural GP numbers 12.05.15

DONEGAL has seen a worrying decline in the number of GPs working in rural areas, a TD has warned.
Deputy Thomas Pringle said: “We are witnessing, especially in Donegal, a declining proportion of GPs working in rural areas, a decline from 33% in the early 1990s to 22% in 2005, and in Donegal there are only 48 per 100,000 of the population compared to 64 nationally.”
He said Donegal medical practices faced challenges during the roll-out of free primary care for children under six and people over 70.
“While the Government attempts to roll-out free GP care to those under six years of age and those over 70 years of age, it is worthwhile considering do we have enough GPs in Donegal to cater to a sudden demand in care?
"If rural areas do not have the infrastructure to support the demand then the standard of care may reduce," Deputy Pringle told the Dáil.
Speaking on the Health (General Practitioners) Bill 2015, he added: “We need to ensure that children and elderly people can access the standard of care they need but in order to achieve this, the Government needs to work on the health infrastructure so that GPs will not only stay in the country, but in the county as well. "Focus needs to stay on rolling out a primary care system which brings healthcare to the community, meeting the health needs of the community."
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