The ICGP is marking World Family Doctor Day (19 May) by recognising the substantial role of GPs in the Covid-19 pandemic.
Almost 3,500 GPs work in Ireland and deliver a vast range of services to the public. Each person visits their GP an estimated 4.34 times a year and the average consultation time is 13.7 minutes.
When first pandemic ‘lockdown’ began in March 2020, GPs adapted with tele-consultations, e-prescribing and video consultations.
Since then, GPs have been the first port of call for people with Covid-19 symptoms and when the vaccine programme began, GPs played a central role in delivering vaccines to the older population and those in vulnerable groups.
President of the ICGP Dr Margaret O’Riordan said: “This is a day to recognise the substantial role that GPs play in Irish healthcare, caring from everyone from newborn babies to the oldest family member, providing specialist care across a wide range of medical conditions in a flexible and responsive manner.”
Dr O’Riordan added: “We ask the public to be patient as we deal with an expanded workload at this time. We know that sometimes they find it difficult to get an appointment quickly; practice teams are working at their limits.”
Chair of the ICGP board Dr John Farrell commented: “GPs’ workload had increased substantially in the past year and a half due to the pandemic. We know that many are working very long hours and at weekends to deliver the vaccine programme on top of the normal workload. We know from recent surveys that GPs work an average of 13.8 hours per day. “
Dr Andrée Rochfort, Director, Quality Improvement and Doctors’ Health Programme, ICGP, said: “During the pandemic, GPs have continued to provide patient care from antenatal to baby vaccinations, elderly chronic disease management, while fielding hundreds of calls from patients concerned about Covid-19, while mobilising practice teams to arrange the Covid-19 vaccination programme, and dealing with day-to-day queries from their patients. It’s been an extraordinary year.”