Plans to have GPs working in emergency departments like 'robbing Peter to pay Paul'

Plans to have GPs working in emergency departments like 'robbing Peter to pay Paul'

Any plan to have GPs working alongside consultants in hospital emergency departments could result in an 'extraordinarily efficient service' but it will not work as a stop-gap measure, according to a leading GP in Cork.

Dr Mary Favier was responding to an approach by Cork University Hospital to GPs across the city, urging them to sign up for shifts in the A&E.

CUH management sent out an email in recent days seeking GPs to staff the emergency department for weekly eight-hour sessions.

“If it was a planned campaign, rolled out nationally after full consultation, it could work,” said Dr Favier.

“It has proved to be a very successful model elsewhere. A&E is a complex environment and GPs are senior decision-makers who would work well with skilled consultants.

"However, the approach taken by CUH looks more like a stop-gap measure to address hospital staffing shortages.”

Dr Favier said there are also serious staffing shortages among GPs.

“We have huge problems with under-resourcing of GP services. A&E is not our priority. We have our own staffing issues.

"There are not enough GPs being trained and many of those who are trained have gone abroad and are not coming back.”

Dr Favier said that for any such system to work it would have to be done with greater consideration than sending out an email to GPs.

“If they want to employ GPs in the A&E departments they should take a considered approach and do it in consultation with the Irish College of General Practitioners.”

The Irish Patients Association took a positive view of using GPs in emergency departments because they had cut their teeth as interns in a hospital when they first graduated.

“This is not a bad initiative considering pressures CUH has to deliver care under from time to time in an overcrowded Emergency Department that is unsafe.” said a spokesperson.

The key issue is can they cut eight hours out of their capacity in their practices to attend the emergency department?

However, Dr Padraig McGarry, president of the Irish Medical Organisation, described the CUH initiative as like “robbing Peter to pay Paul”.

Dr McGarry said: “This appears to be a desperate attempt to plug a hole because the hospital doesn’t appear to be able to recruit appropriate levels of expertise to carry out this function.

“This means they’re taking a GP out of the primary care setting where general practice is already under severe pressure and strain, and it’s only going to make the situation worse there.”

Dr McGarry said if the HSE and hospitals were able to attract appropriately-trained consultants, there would be no need for such a recruitment campaign, especially one which is impacting another health service area.

More on this topic

Consultants reveal a million people are on Irish hospital waiting listsConsultants reveal a million people are on Irish hospital waiting lists

Hospital consultants to be balloted for strike actionHospital consultants to be balloted for strike action

Pay policy must change to address recruitment issues, says chief executive of Children’s Health IrelandPay policy must change to address recruitment issues, says chief executive of Children’s Health Ireland

Consultants group 'alarmed' by Govt response to mortuary issues in Waterford hospitalConsultants group 'alarmed' by Govt response to mortuary issues in Waterford hospital


More in this Section

PM facing potential legal challenge over Brexit deal’s ‘Irish Sea border’PM facing potential legal challenge over Brexit deal’s ‘Irish Sea border’

Councillors hit out at OPW mapping system which has house in flood risk area despite it being 100ft above riverCouncillors hit out at OPW mapping system which has house in flood risk area despite it being 100ft above river

Mother who admitted suffocating daughter, 3, feared for child's future after online researchMother who admitted suffocating daughter, 3, feared for child's future after online research

Shocking footage shows tourists being robbed at gunpoint near Guinness StorehouseShocking footage shows tourists being robbed at gunpoint near Guinness Storehouse


Lifestyle

A long-time fad dieter, Katy Harrington tried unsuccessfully to embrace body positivity, so she’s trying something new (and neutral)Plusses of positivity: Forget body positivity - it's time to go neutral

Discovering the joys of the Monaghan and Armagh landscapes while venturing north, comes highly-recommended by Noel BakerTrekking north to Monaghan and Armagh is good for the soul

Sex advice with Suzi Godson.Sex file: Where have my orgasms gone?

Producers of the new landmark Attenborough series tell Sarah Marshall about some of the fantastic animal encounters they filmed.Visit the wildlife locations featured in the BBC’s Seven Worlds, One Planet

More From The Irish Examiner