Home > ‘Cap’ on Level 2 GPs must now be lifted.

[Irish Medical Times] , Gantly, Dara ‘Cap’ on Level 2 GPs must now be lifted. (16 Apr 2015)

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IMO members have called on the HSE to allow for the expansion of numbers of patients on the Opioid Treatment Protocol and thus increase the access to treatment for heroin dependence throughout the country.

Dr Garrett McGovern believes the health service needs more Level 2 GPs in order to treat this problem, and that there were a “dearth of Level 1s becoming Level 2s”.

Level 2 doctors are GPs who are trained to offer the full range of treatment services to opiate dependent patients, including a comprehensive assessment, initiation of treatment where appropriate, stabilising a drug user, maintaining methadone treatment and/or detoxing a patient in the primary care setting. Level 1 GPs cannot treat patients at source; they have to be referred.

“The Farrell Report, which was carried out by Prof Joe Barry and Prof Michael Farrell from Kings College London – a world renowned expert in drug treatment – made a number of recommendations, one of which was that the cap on Level 2s, which was currently 35, would be lifted to 50. So at the stroke of a pen, you could get up to a thousand patients in treatment very quickly, just by lifting that cap,” he suggested.

In a related motion, the union backed a call for the HSE to provide resources for adequate referral facilities for drug users throughout the country.

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