Patients are having to be admitted to hospital after waiting too long to seek help from their GP, it has emerged.
Doctors are worried that some patients are avoiding going to their GP or hospital because of the Covid-19 crisis.
The Irish College of General Practitioners and the Irish Medical Organisation want people to lift the phone and call their GP if they are unwell.
ICGP medical director, Dr Tony Cox, said some patients were suffering needlessly for days.
“The initial consultation is now by phone and the GP will assess the best way to deliver care,” he said.
“People are being very good; they understand that GPs and doctors, in general, are all very busy but we don't want them to let their health deteriorate.
President of the IMO, Dr Padriag McGarry, urged patients not to hesitate in phoning the surgery.
Because of coronavirus GPs no longer have walk-in clinics and consultations are arranged in advance to ensure they take place in a safe environment.