A group representing local GPs has sounded a warning that winter pressures will impact patient care.
A recent survey of RCGP NI (Royal College of General Practitioners) members found that 89% of GPs surveyed are concerned their increased workload during the winter months will negatively affect their ability to deliver patient care.
The college’s Patient Group is reminding people about the important ‘3 Before GP’ message. Karen Mooney, chair, said: “This winter, we know that our GP practices are going to be under immense strain, and we can do our bit to help support our health service. Think about what you really need; think 3 Before GP.
“Can you care for yourself and manage minor ailments at home? Can you find the advice you need using safe and reputable online resources such as the NI Direct Stay Well website? Can you seek advice from your community pharmacist?
“We all have a responsibility to help protect our health services and to make sure that those who are the most ill and vulnerable in our society are able to access the care that they need.”
Dr Grainne Doran, RCGPNI chair, said: “GPs strive to provide the very best care to all of our patients. Over the winter period, there is no doubt that our workload hugely increases.
“For more minor conditions such as coughs and colds, patients can get great advice and over the counter medicines from local pharmacies. This will be faster and more efficient and will help ensure appointments with a doctor are available for those who need them most.”