Senator Jennifer Murnane-O'Connor has revealed proposals to protect and grow GP services in Carlow and Kilkenny.
The Fianna Fáil Senator has raised grave concerns about the future of primary care services in the region, with many GP practices forced to further scale back services.
The Fianna Fáil candidate in the general election has said radical action is needed to protect local GPs, increase their supports and invest in the expansion of primary care in the region.
She said: "I have spoken to a number of local GPs who are seriously concerned about the future of the essential services they provide to communities.
"They feel abandoned, with cuts to supports, changes to contracts, and a worrying shortage of young doctors joining the profession.
"Many GP practices and Primary Care Centres have been left with no option but to cut their opening times as they simply don’t have the resources to provide a full service.
"It can be hard or impossible to get onto a GP list in some areas of and appointments can take two weeks or more. Many health issues simply cannot wait that long for attention, so patients are left with nowhere to go except to turn up at a hospital A&E.
"This is an extremely dangerous situation and it’s getting worse. Scaled back primary care services puts lives at risk and pushes people onto an already overburdened hospital system.
"St Luke’s Hospital is already under far too much pressure and it can’t be the only available port of call for people who would be very well looked after by their GP."
She added: "Fianna Fáil has made a commitment to protecting GP practices by increasing the GP Allowance to €30,000.
"If elected to government we will negotiate a new GP contract to underpin General Practice for the next 30 years, to include Women’s Health Programmes, Out of Hours Services and services to patients in nursing homes.
"We will increase GP training places to 274 to provide a much-needed injection of young doctors into the sector."
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