According to a recent survey conducted by the National Association of General Practitioners it is believed that the average waiting time for a patent to see their GP has tripled in the past five years.
The latest report states that on average a patient who is currently seeking a routine appointment with their GP is forced to wait in the region of 34 hours or more before they are seen. The increased waiting time marks a significant rise since 2010 when a patient only had to wait just under 10 hours before they could get an appointment.
The news has come as no great surprise to Dr Yvonne Williams the Chair of Communications for the NAGP who says extension of the free GP scheme is contributing to the delays. Ms Williams told reporters: “The IMNO’s Trolley Count is one of the few quality and efficiency barometers of the Irish health service that is easily understood by the general public.” “With general practice patient waiting times increasing to such a degree, we feel it’s time to introduce a second watch measure at primary care level. These figures show how much pressure general practice is under at the moment and act as a warning sign for the safety of patients.”
Ms Williams also added: “Long waiting times at emergency departments are a well-established phenomenon of the Irish health system but these figures confirm that the issue has spread to general practices. The reduction in, and illogical allocation of, resources within the sector are resulting in a multitude of crises that is now firmly rooted in general practice.”