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June 29, 2016

The last remaining generalists take the stage

GPs have been somewhat neglected lately, what with all the debate and controversy over consultants, and the media spotlight firmly focused on the nurses’s dispute and the general election.
When it does turn to doctors it’s generally concentrated on the Irish Medical Organisation or the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA), and their row over the 68 empty consultant posts they don’t want filled.
But GPs are about to try and tug some news coverage back as the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) AGM is launched this afternoon.
The theme is ‘GPs: the last remaining generalist?’ Apparently the answer is yes, and GPs want to keep it that way. The other theme of the AGM is ‘A losing battle’; so it seems the GPs are prepared to lose.
That doesn’t mean they won’t fight along the way though, and the main issues for battle are the tortoise-like pace of the GP contract negotiations, and the general feeling among GPs that they are under-valued, taken for granted and generally forgotten about.
Another favourite AGM topic, for the ICGP, (and the IMO and the IHCA, for that matter) is how doctors feel like they are the repeated victims of negative spin from the Government and the Health Service Executive (HSE).
Which is why the College’s Sunday’s Foundation Lecture is entitled ‘The Doctor: Saint or Sinner?’ It will be given by Dr Brian Coffee, former chair of the National Association for GP Co-ops.
I imagine most of those in attendance here in Galway will choose the latter option, but it will be interesting to see the side of the ‘sinner’ put across…