Medics and patients urge primary care minister post for country's well-being
A new frontline health minister is needed to improve the country's well-being, medics and patients have said.
An umbrella group of doctors, nurses, other healthcare professionals and patient groups has urged a new Cabinet post be set up by the next government.
A primary care minister - which would be separate to a health minister - would help a badly needed overhaul of crucial services, according to the Primary Care Partnership.
It has also demanded more GPs be recruited throughout the country.
Dr Ronan Fawsitt, spokesman for the group, said the new ministerial position should be created as soon as an administration is sorted out in Leinster House.
"A GP-led primary care system is the best way to resolve issues with the current health system," he said.
"A minister for primary care is crucial to ensure the effective long term planning and delivery of a better primary care system for all stakeholders."
Primary Care is defined by the Health Service Executive as all health or social care services outside of hospitals.
It includes GPs, public health nurses and other services.
The Primary Care Partnership includes the National Association of General Practitioners, the Irish Patients Association, Irish Practice Nurses Association and 10 other groups representing primary carers and medics.
Launching its first document, Primary Care: A Framework For The Future, chairman Chris Goodey urged the incoming government to "take seriously the ideas proposed".
"For the first time ever, primary care providers have come together to give the Government a series of solutions to fix our health service," he said.
"We now have an opportunity to put in place some tangible change which can make a real difference to everyone involved - patients, providers and regulators.
"As part of this, the Government must undertake a recruitment drive for GPs and ensure that positions are attractive to both recent graduates and experienced GPs."