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Covid-19 placing general practice under increasing pressure

By Dermot - 30th Mar 2020 | 7 views

Mid adult woman talking to doctor about her diagnosis

A number of Irish GPs are in self-isolation, while others have already tested positive for Coronavirus, the Medical Independent (MI) understands.

This is putting pressure on GP practices nationally, as remaining colleagues continue to run practices with fewer GPs available to assist.

There are also reports of GPs in self-isolation continuing to work from home, such is the demand on general practice currently.

According to Monaghan GP Dr Illona Duffy, Irish GPs are concerned about the spread of Covid-19 and their risk of contracting the virus.

“GPs are very concerned because we don’t know what we are facing…are we going to be able to contain the virus?” questioned Dr Duffy.

Healthcare workers are considered an at-risk category due to their frequent proximity to often multiple confirmed cases.

Healthcare workers in Italy and China have died from the virus. As of 27 March, 503 healthcare workers in Ireland had tested positive for Covid-19.

Cork GP and Medical Independent (MI) columnist, Dr Sarah Fitzgibbon, in a recent blog post, outlined her thoughts and fears about the virus.

“We are aware that many of the people who have died from Covid19 around the world have been healthcare workers. We know that those who work closely with sick patients are more likely to get severe illness than those who work more peripherally in the hospital. We also know that wearing the correct personal protection equipment (PPE) can dramatically reduce the risk of becoming infected,” wrote Dr Fitzgibbon.

“We are willing to climb the ladder into No-Man’s-Land, but we wish we were in a massive armoured tank and not just carrying a small stick. Some of us may want to point out that we have a dicky heart, or flat feet, so that we can be legitimately sent home from the Front. We may even consider going AWOL. But in the end, most of us will do what is asked and expected of us, and some of us will do a lot, lot more.”

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