The Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) has urged the public to be patient in seeking appointments with their GPs and “to understand that there are longer delays at present due to the extra workload caused by the Covid-19 vaccination programme”.
Dr Diarmuid Quinlan, ICGP Medical Director, said: “GPs are ready and willing to do whatever is possible to ensure our patients are seen when they need to. However, we are living in unprecedented times and we ask people to understand that sometimes we cannot give an appointment as quickly as we would like, and that very sick patients must take precedence.
“Furthermore, practice teams have taken on a significant extra workload to ensure the delivery of the mRNA vaccines to the over 70s and those with high-risk conditions. These vaccines are highly effective but must be managed and delivered with care and within a tight time frame.
“This is logistically complex, and complicated by the changes in supplies and deliveries.
“We are asking the public to understand the pressures our staff are working under, and to be ready for delays at times. Please check your GP’s website for information before phoning, or go to the HSE website (https://www2.hse.ie/covid-19-vaccine/) for the latest details of the vaccine rollout. We will contact you when your turn has come.”
Dr Nuala O’Connor, the ICGP’s Clinical Lead on Covid-19 said: “The vaccination programme is very good news, as these are very effective vaccines for our patients and we understand how anxious people are to receive them. But this is a huge logistical exercise and we are dealing with uncertainty in supplies and in changes to guidelines on vaccines for different age groups.
“GPs are not involved in the AstraZeneca vaccine to the over 60’s and those in that age group are asked to go to the HSE portal and please not to phone their GP practice.”