Fermanagh GP surgeries hit by staff absences

LOCAL GP surgeries are feeling the current Covid pressures, with one Fermanagh practice alone currently missing its entire admin team due to sickness and isolaton.

The Ederney GP surgery, which has thousands of patients on its books, is one of many local organisations hit by staff shortages due to the high rate of the virus in the local area over the past month. Its entire admin staff is currently off work and the practice has been forced to call in support from its sister practice in Castlederg.

Thankfully, the staff shortage hasn’t impacted access to GP care at the practice.


Indeed Dr Brendan O’Hare, manager of Western Rural Healthcare, said since the new system of telephone triage was introduced, he was actually seeing more patients than ever.

“There was nobody who needed seen who wasn’t seen this morning. Others had queries about medication, or problems that we’re easily resolved over the phone in two minutes, to do with administrative things,” said Dr O’Hare on Tuesday. “In the old days that people look back at, I would have seen 15 patients. The reality is I’ve dealt with 22 today, and nobody has been neglected.”

Dr O’Hare added he believed the new post-Covid system was “more efficient.”

“If we went back to the old days, there was absolutely no barrier to making an appointment. People would just phone in and made their appointment. They may have had to wait a week or two, but that was that,” he said. “There were people who just made one appointment after another and may have been in the surgery 40 or 50 times a year. They actually had our system bunged up. Quite often, the reason for the consultation wasn’t obvious in any shape or form.

“The fact is, this system has stopped that behaviour. Anyone I spoke to today was seen to today, was seen today, without a four or five week wait.”

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