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It’s time to rescue general practice in Ireland

So ran the recent recruitment campaign as per a phone call to me the other morning. It’s starting to look like the water charges campaign!

I can see how some practices are ‘snowed under’ with sick patients, and not-so-sick patients, waiting two hours-plus to see the doctor of their choice. It’s the latter group that requires the GP, and only the GP, to manage change in the style of practice.

Learn quickly how to say ‘No’ without fear or favour. The amount of clerical work we do is an insult to our education and the money we earn. We are the highest-paid clerks/social workers in the country. If we cleared out all this unnecessary paperwork, we would have lots of slots to see the ‘under-sixes’ — if the price was right, might I add.

So Minister Leo Varadkar, tell your colleagues in Social Welfare, Education, Jobs Schemes etc they won’t be getting certs/notes/reports in any shape or form from the GPs any more. It’s a management problem and don’t be medicalising things just to keep their records and the Comptroller and Auditor General happy.

In addition, if the GPs dumped the satellite clinics they are doing free of charge for the hospitals, they could easily take on the over-70s.

It’s time to rescue general practice from itself and what we have become.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Ray Hawkins,


Co Wicklow.

  1. Jo Andews on April 4, 2015 at 12:13 am

    Actually the quality of the average GP in Ireland is at best well below first world standards. Ask any foreign locum that has visited our shores over the past 15 years and the general opinion is “It is a third world system of doctors that do not know or exhibit the basic clinical skills that one would expect in Europe”.
    The possible cause is the over reliance on consultants to deal with the sick. Polypharmacy is another major problem.

    Will we ever catch up or just keep on regressing in our ignorance of the situation?

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