Elected councillors in Tralee will write to the Health Minister requesting an initiative to encourage GPs to remain in the county.
The motion was raised at the recent meeting of Tralee municipal district, by Fianna Fáil councillor, Johnnie Wall.
Cllr Wall says that in Tralee, the ratio of people to GPs is 4000 to 1; while he says people could waiting over three weeks to visit a GP in the town.
The motion to write to the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, was seconded by Independent councillor, Sam Locke.
Cllr Locke added a support system should be put in place and incentivised for qualified medical professionals to remain in Ireland.
He says the current system is penalising GPs for practising locally and a scheme should be introduced whereby qualified GPs work in their local areas before flying to other countries.
Sinn Féin councillor, Deirdre Ferris, said while she could see the benefits of requesting such an initiative, the reality is starkly different.
Cllr Ferris says Tralee and Kerry aren’t alone in trying to retain medical professionals; adding the biggest issue is that 70% of qualified doctors within the country are emigrating, and creating such a scheme would just be robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Cllr Ferris said more than half the places on medical courses in Ireland are awarded to International students, as she says they are far more lucrative to universities and they can be charged much higher fees.
She says unless university places could be increased for medical courses, we will continue to be training doctors for export.
Fine Gael councillor Jim Finucane supported the motion, adding something drastic needed to be done to motivate GPs to stay in Ireland.
Cllr Finucane said work practices and conditions; payment; and standard of living are the main reason newly qualified medical professionals are emigrating; and the reality is that the work load here is too demanding and that Emergency departments are unsafe places to work.