Fermanagh GPs are ‘working harder than ever’

AS THE crisis in our local health service seems to worsen by the week, not least in general practice, a local surgery receptionist has spoken out to the ‘Herald to stress how our local doctors are working harder than ever.

In recent years, with a new phone-triage system now in place, Fermanagh patients have been finding it difficult to secure appointments at some practices, often even struggling to just get through to their practice on busy lines.

While it’s certainly the case that we have fewer GPs now working in rural practices, the main issue goes much further than simply having fewer available doctors on the ground. It is instead symptomatic of a wider systemic problem in the health service, according to the receptionist the ‘Herald spoke with.


They said the doctors are literally run off their feet at their practice, barely getting a lunch break and often working long after hours, due to ever increasing patient demand.

“I’ve worked there many years, and probably since Covid, they’re dealing with far more patients than ever,”they said.

When asked why they think they think this is, the receptionist immediately pointed to the same problem that is also leading to the increased demand on our emergency departments.

“The main problem, I would say, is the waiting lists,” they said. “That’s having a knock-on effect on everything.”

They explained how more and more patients were waiting several years for procedures for chronic conditions, leading not only to an increase in demand for services while they wait.

“I would say especially in orthopaedics, people suffering with pain constantly,” they said. “If they could get their replacements or whatever they need, that would cut out an considerable number of calls.

“Most departments now have very lengthy waiting lists.”


With regard the telephone triage system, the receptionist asked the public to remember they are just doing their jobs, and asked patients to be patient. They added, “this is likely the way it’s going to be” for some time to come.

They explained these appointments must be made on a daily basis, and cannot be made days in advance, so patients must call the receptionist in the morning. However, in urgent cases patients will always be seen.

They said, “Nobody is ever left without a doctor if they need one.”

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