Hundreds of GPs will lead a cavalcade of cars to the Dáil tomorrow to protest at the conditions and cuts faced by doctors.
The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) is organising the protest which will see a mass gathering of GPs from all around the country gather at Merrion Square before leading a slow drive of 'Doctors on Call' cars to Dáil Éireann.
The association has accused the Government of abandoning general practice and said that without urgent intervention the sector is "not for resuscitation".
It pointed out that Ireland has one of the most expensive yet inefficient health systems in the world and accused the Government of being determined to suffocate and destroy general practice.
The NAGP said young, newly trained GPs are emigrating and older GPs are giving up and retiring early and that years of successive cuts in Government funding for general practice has created an "inefficient unstructured health system, which is now collapsing".
The group said that the number of doctors who can no longer take on any more patients is a growing crisis and that the medical card system can no longer cope, having been "starved of resources for a decade".
Many GPs are having to retire early due to burnout and the group also claimed that there are simply not enough GPs to serve the public need.
Tomorrow GP's are standing up for patient's rights and fighting to save General Practice in Ireland. Please tweet @Paschald @campaignforleo @MichealMartinTD @SimonHarrisTD @jerrybuttimer @BillyKelleherTD
GP Practices are closing all over the country. pic.twitter.com/8EscXr8Bqd— Kevin McCarthy (@Kmcno9) February 5, 2019
The NAGP has called for FEMPI cuts from 2010 to be restored immediately and without pre-conditions.
The FEMPI measures were a series of cuts introduced by the Government between 2009 and 2013.
The NAGP claims that while most of the cuts to public sector workers have been restored, this has not happened for GPs who sustained "the highest cuts of any group of workers".
It has said a continued programme of investment in general practice and primary care over the next 10 years must be established to enable essential reform and develop integrated care.
The protest comes as the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) said it hopes to be able to agree a new deal for GPs with the Government "over the coming weeks".
In a memo to its members, it said that the reversal of FEMPI measures must happen but that GPs must also be willing to offer something in return.
"GPs cannot be treated less equitably than their colleagues in the public service in terms of the reversal of FEMPI. While it is easy for others to set red lines such as full reversal of FEMPI without preconditions that is not negotiation, that is rhetoric which will not deliver anything tangible," said the memo.
The IMO described the talks as "intensive" but said that it hoped a deal could be achieved in the coming weeks.
"However, it is important to state that we are also prepared to walk away from any deal that is not in the best interest of general practice," said the memo.