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26/10/2021

Exhausted doctors unable to take time off due to staff shortages

Exhausted doctors unable to take time off due to staff shortages

Exhausted doctors on the frontline in the battle against Covid-19 have been unable to take a break due to recruitment difficulties, The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has warned.

"A chronic inability to attract applicants to vacant posts in our health services across all medical specialties is having a serious detrimental effect on the provision of healthcare in Ireland," the IMO has warned.

The levels of burnout and stress among medical professionals is unsustainably high, the IMO said.

It adds that almost 30pc of consultants and 30pc of GPs are due to retire in the next five years.

Continued unavailability of locum cover leads to GPs being unable to take leave, increases the number that retire early and decreases the attractiveness of General Practice as a choice for our younger doctors, the IMO added.

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Dr Denis McCauley, chair of the GP committee of the IMO, said that doctors currently working in the system are at breaking point.

“After two years of being on the frontline of the Covid-19 battle, doctors are exhausted yet are unable to get a break due to our inability to recruit staff to the system.

"GPs around the country have been unable to secure locums to allow them to take annual leave, there are no supports to encourage younger GPs to establish in practice, and the additional out of hours burden on individual GPs is taking its toll.

"The current contract does not reflect modern general practice and we must urgently address the systemic issues that are making the specialty unattractive to our new graduates particularly in areas of a service resourcing sustainable workload, work-life balance and family-friendly arrangements,” Dr McCauley said. 

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