The average waiting time to see a GP has more than tripled in just five years, according to a survey carried out for the National Association of General Practitioners.
The current waiting time for a patient seeking a routine appointment with their GP has soared from just under 10 hours in 2010 to over 34 hours this month.
Dr Yvonne Williams Chair of Communications for the NAGP has said the extension of the free GP scheme is contributing to the delays.
“The IMNO’s Trolley Count is one of the few quality and efficiency barometers of the Irish health service that is easily understood by the general public,” said Dr Williams.
“With general practice patient waiting times increasing to such a degree, we feel it’s time to introduce a second watch measure at primary care level. These figures show how much pressure general practice is under at the moment and act as a warning sign for the safety of patients.
“Long waiting times at emergency departments are a well-established phenomenon of the Irish health system but these figures confirm that the issue has spread to general practices. The reduction in, and illogical allocation of, resources within the sector are resulting in a multitude of crises that is now firmly rooted in general practice.”