Patients are being turned away in Cork due to a lack of doctors

Patients are being turned away in Cork due to a lack of doctors

A CORK GP has warned that the General Practice service is in crisis and patients are being turned away due to a lack of local doctors.

The stark message came after the HSE revealed that two national and international recruitment campaigns to fill a vacant GP position in Youghal failed to attract a single application.

Dr Declan Mathews, of Emmet Place Family Practice in Youghal, said: “This crisis has been coming down the line for GPs for a while. We first saw the difficulties in rural areas, now it’s in towns and creeping into cities.

“It’s becoming impossible to recruit GPs. They’re turning to Australia or Canada, and it’s nothing to do with money. The working conditions are intolerable and the workloads are increasing.”

Dr Mathews also warned of burn-out in the profession and that increasing workloads could lead to mistakes.

The retirement on May 18 of a GP in Youghal led to her patients being divided among the other six GPs in the area.

“We tried to point out that we’re already 

“We had one girl come into the practice in recent weeks on the Under Sixes card, but when her mother asked could we take the other five family members, we had to say no. We simply don’t have the capacity.”

Dr Mathews added: “We’re dealing with more people, more patients, more work and the busier we are, the more likely it is that mistakes will happen. If I do make a mistake, the HSE who have been only adding to our workloads, will be offering little or no support.

“It’s about patient safety and in these working conditions, it’s harder to ensure that,” he added. “It’s also about doctor safety with burnout levels extremely high. “The amount of doctors burning out, retiring early or committing suicide has increased in recent years.”

Dr Mathews is 64 and said another GP in the Youghal area is over 60. “What will happen when we retire?,” he asked. “Three or four GPs will be asked to deal with all the people of Youghal which is crazy.

Dr Mathews revealed that, at the age of 64, his contract still requires him to work two consecutive 14-hour shifts on four or five occasions a year, in SouthDoc.

“It’s no wonder GPs are taking early retirement, we shouldn’t have to put up with this, it’s dangerous,” he said.

More in this section

Sponsored Content