By Mick Murphy
In France, Germany and Austria there are less than 1,000 people to every GP. The average for this country is way above that at 1,672. In Tallaght, there are 26 GPs for 71,000 people or 2,730 people to one GP. In Clondalkin, the number is 2,444.
These are the areas surrounding Tallaght Hospital and it was suspected that the lack of GPs might be impacting on the A&E in the hospital so the Socialist Party carried out a survey and conducted some research to try to understand the situation better.
Within Tallaght, the GPs are concentrated in the areas outside of West Tallaght and there, GPs are accessed via clinics run by the HSE. It is almost impossible to have a “Family Doctor” relationship through these clinics with most of the doctors coming from other parts of Tallaght and only sitting for two half days per week. Locals refer to it as “Lucky dip Doctors”.
One consequence of this is that people often have to wait days to get an appointment and end up in the A&E at Tallaght hospital rather than use the call out GP service which has inconsistent outcomes. This point was explained very well by Sinead Lambert from Brookview who went on the RTE Frontline program to explain her situation.
Sinead, who is a young mother of three, said on Frontline “basically what we have in Brookfield Health Centre is, we have got access to a clinic but we have got no family doctor. I have brought my daughter to the hospital because I couldn’t see a GP. I could not get an appointment. Kids can’t forewarn you that they are going to be sick. That is basically what they are asking you for”. The Socialist Party is now campaigning in Tallaght on this important issue and organising a series of public meetings.