Covid-19: People not registered with GP will not be turned away

It is thought thousands of people are not registered with any GP with up to 70% of practices too busy to accept new patients in recent years.

Covid-19: People not registered with GP will not be turned away

People not registered with a GP are being told no doctor will turn them away if they phone in to ask about Covid-19 symptoms.

It is thought thousands of people are not registered with any GP with up to 70% of practices too busy to accept new patients in recent years.

Consultancy fees have been waived for people phoning in to ask about symptoms but clinics are extremely busy.

Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) president Dr Mary Favier says they want to reassure people who do not already have a relationship with a doctor they will get help.

"The types of patients we are most concerned about here are those who are often new to an area.

"They might be migrants to Ireland, they may have moved away from home and no longer have their family GP, their GP may have died, retired, closed their practice.

"Sometimes it is younger people who want to change GP and then lose contact with a general practitioner."

Dr Favier's own clinic has been too busy to accept new patients for almost five years and she says that 70% of GPs are not taking new patients - or were not until this week.

However, she says that they will work as hard as they can as long as they can for this crisis.

"These are exceptional times so we are going to need exceptional measures.

"I would be confident that GPs will step up to this role."

Meanwhile, the HSE are once again asking people not to share false information regarding Covid-19 on WhatsApp.

The HSE's chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry says they are not helping anyone.

"I can't make an appeal to the people who put these stories out because I can't understand their mindset.

"But I would appeal to anyone else not to copy these on."

He said that those looking for information should visit hse.ie.

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