A political doctor
Jerry Cowley is a general practitioner, a lawyer, and an elected independent representative in the lower chamber of the Irish parliament. He has campaigned for improvements in health care for older people. His involvement in Irish politics started in 1997, when he campaigned nationally for an orthopaedic unit at Mayo General Hospital. He also campaigned for a national helicopter emergency medical service. Rebekka T Stiasny caught up with him
I believed it was a way of helping people. I chose to become a general practitioner because it seems at the forefront of medical care. In the specialties, doctors are limited to their area of expertise but the general practitioner gets to see all conditions from nose bleeds to broken bones.
I was concerned by the deprivation I saw regularly in my work as a general practitioner. There were a lot of issues, such as the forced migration of older people to faraway nursing homes and institutions, that needed to be addressed. Many older people can manage at home, with support, or at least in their own community. I also thought that there was inequity in the health service for people who lived in Mayo compared with urban areas, such as Dublin. I felt that the people of Mayo needed to be represented. Otherwise the situation would not improve.