The north Dublin out-of-hours (OOH) GP service D-Doc is reaching capacity “more often than we should be”, according to Medical Director Dr Mel Bates.
Dr Bates told the Medical Independent (MI) that this is “probably the biggest issue” facing the service and the increase in attendance is “partly” due to the decreased capacity in daytime GP services.
He said: “It’s mainly at weekends…. More and more people can’t get doctors, or they are finding it difficult to get their own doctor in a timely manner and so they’re turning to D-Doc more and more.”
The daytime GP service has been facing workforce and workload crises and “everybody is feeling the pinch at the moment in terms of capacity”.
Dr Bates added: “There are those practices who are making a point of trying to deal with the urgent cases on a same-day basis, and that’s terribly helpful to out-of-hours.”
Although capacity is not being reached every day, it is recorded when it happens and “we’re acutely aware of it and we try and avoid it”.
Dr Bates also told MI that the number of doctors working at D-Doc is higher at this time of year to deal with the extra winter attendances, but he expects the service to “get busier”.
“Even if there is no great Covid surge this winter, and that is a complete unknown, I expect it to be extremely busy,” he commented.