Dr Tadhg Crowley
A staggering 42% of GPs in Kilkenny will retire in the next five to seven years.
The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) released county by county data and after Leitrim, Kilkenny has the most number of GPs due to retire in the next few years.
General practice numbers have remained static for over 30 years .
Local GP, Dr Tadhg Crowley has claimed it is a crisis in local health care.
“Patients will find it hard to access a GP,” he said.
Dr Crowley said the basis of the Slainte health report last year was that general practice would be able to do more.
“If the crisis is not addressed this will not be possible. This is not new information, this has been in the public domain for several years,” he claimed.
“The IMO has been trying to highlight this with successive governments over the last 10 years. None of these warnings have been heeded,” he said.
As to the cause, he said new graduates were not being enticed to work in general practice as it is seen to be unviable.
“The cuts during the financial emergency for GPs were twice as high as for other public servants and none have been returned to general practice,” he said.
“This is a hard point for people to understand but the proof of the pudding is there. Graduates are voting with their feet and staying abroad.
“The cost of setting up in practice, running a business which is a SME with all its problems and over regulation of healthcare are seen as barriers to working within the Irish healthcare system.
“The contract for GPs was devised in 1970, almost 50 years ago, it is not designed for treating patients in the 21st century.
“We are training the brightest and the best to work on an out-of-date contract in general practice that does not allow you to use all the skills you’ve learned,” he claimed.