CORK University Hospital has written to GPs across the city urging them to sign up for shifts in the A&E — a move that has been described as a desperate attempt to plug a hole in the services.
CUH management sent out an email in recent days seeking GPs to staff the emergency department for weekly eight- hour sessions.
CUH said it is committed to developing such initiatives as an opportunity to enhance the professional relationship between general practice and the hospital.
However, a Cork GP has hit out at the attempt to remove resources from general practice, comparing it to “re-arranging deck furniture on the Titanic as it sank”.
Dr Padraig McGarry, president of the Irish Medical Organisation, said it was like “robbing Peter to pay Paul”.
He said it highlights CUH’s inability to attract appropriately trained emergency medicine specialists to the A&E.
Dr McGarry said: “This appears to be a desperate attempt to plug a hole because the hospital doesn’t appear to be able to recruit appropriate levels of expertise to carry out this function.
A spokesperson for Cork University Hospital said:
“CUH has 6 allocated 8 hour sessions per week (3 in General ED and 3 in Paediatric ED) in the Emergency Department that are filled by General Practitioners, These six sessions are in addition to our Consultant Staff complement and are there to provide additional support to the Emergency Department. The Hospital currently has one session that is vacant and are circulating G.Ps. in the region with a view to identifying those who may have a particular interest in Emergency Medicine.”