Lack of GP cover leading to a ‘risk of burnout’

Glanmire-based GP and medical director of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) Diarmuid Quinlan said GPs are under significant pressure to continue with everyday services while also providing additional Covid-related services.
Lack of GP cover leading to a ‘risk of burnout’

Glanmire-based GP and medical director of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) Diarmuid Quinlan said GPs are under significant pressure to continue with everyday services while also providing additional Covid-related services.

A CORK GP has asked patients to recognise that GP practices are “extremely busy and it’s likely to be that way for many months to come” as pressure continues to mount on GP services.

Glanmire-based GP and medical director of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) Diarmuid Quinlan said GPs are under significant pressure to continue with everyday services while also providing additional Covid-related services.

“The ICGP put a lot of effort into supporting members’ wellbeing and then our patients are very supportive, my patients are very supportive of me but this pandemic has affected everyone’s mental wellbeing I would say,” Dr Quinlan said. 

“It affects different people differently and particularly now I think we’d all hope that we would be emerging from it and instead, it’s intensifying.

“So, what I would ask is for people to be tolerant, to be patient, recognise that when we are running a flu vaccine clinic or a Covid vaccine clinic that we simply can’t do other work if we’re vaccinating people so if you ring and your doctor’s surgery is doing a Covid or flu vaccine clinic, well actually, it may not be feasible for you to get other things done that day.”

Dr Quinlan said that he knows of situations where the challenge of getting cover has meant a GP cannot attend a family members’ conferring, wedding or potentially funeral, which he said is “not good for one’s mental wellbeing”.

“What we really want is to look after our older people and our sick vulnerable patients and as a society, we need to try and stand together. 

"I do appreciate how difficult it is and every sector has its own challenges, the entertainment sector, young people, college-going people, people at work, older people not meeting their children and grandchildren, so this impacts everybody differently but it impacts everybody,” he said.

Dr Fiona Kelly of the Bank Place Clinic in Castletownbere also said that the current situation GPs are finding themselves in — in terms of a lack of cover for annual leave or sick leave — is leading to “a risk of burnout”.

“Urgent action is required before the whole system collapses,” she said.

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