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January 16, 2008

"Kildare needs urgent medical attention"


Councillor Richard Daly

With an EU average of one doctor for every 1000 of the population Kildare has a staggering average of 3100 people to every doctor putting it as one of the highest in Ireland and in Europe, according to Cllr Richard Daly of Fine Gael.

“The growth of population in Kildare has not been matched by a similar increase in the provision of GPs and the HSE has not increased the number of GPs to correspond with the demand. Annually hundreds of doctors attempt to qualify as GPs but are turned away by a 121 limit by the HSE. Despite promises to increase this number and despite the proven demand the number of places has failed to increase to 150.

Kildare has the second highest ratio in the country with 3105 potential patients to each doctor while some “lucky” counties like Sligo have a ratio of one doctor to every 1485, which is still 50% greater than the European average.

The shortage of GPs has significant consequences for the health of a county because inevitably diagnosis and treatment are delayed as appointments are more difficult to schedule and this could conceivably put lives at risk. Kildare GPs themselves are under immense pressure to expand patient lists and provide a service to numbers way in excess of what would be the norm anywhere else in Europe.

The Minister for Health needs to examine the situation, particularly in Kildare, as people moving could find that they can’t get included on doctors patient lists. The demand for GPs certainly exists in the county and it is the responsibility of the Minister and the HSE to ensure that there is adequate doctor provision throughout the county.” said Cllr Daly.