Staff shortages’ hit GP services in Fermanagh

FEARS have grown for GP services in Enniskillen after a voice message left residents worried that they will not be seen by doctors.

The voice message on Lakeside Medical Practice at the Erne Health Centre in Enniskillen explained that ‘staff shortages’ would now affect ‘routine appointments’ there.

“If you have a genuine medical emergency such as chest pain, stroke or collapse please ring 999 now. Unfortunately, due to staff shortages, we are currently unable to offer routine appointments and will be dealing with on-the-day emergencies only,” the voice message said.


“If you require an emergency same-day GP appointment, or have a medical issue which requires medical attention, reception staff will ask you for a brief description of the problem.

“Staff have been trained to do so and we ask that you cooperate with them as they do have a zero-tolerance policy towards verbal abuse to staff. Home visits should be requested before 11am. Otherwise, they may not be facilitated on that day.”

The Herald contacted Erne Health Centre and got the same recorded voice message, but when trying to speak to a staff member the line was constantly engaged.

Save Our Acute Services (SOAS) spokesperson Donal O’Cofaigh said that it was yet another hit for the local primary healthcare system.

“Unfortunately, in Northern Ireland GPs receive much less of the healthcare budget than they do in any other part of these islands,” he said.

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