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Half of Ireland's GPs are working more than 50 hours per week

Doctors say their mental health has been affected by the pressure they’re now under.

A NEW SURVEY has revealed massive opposition among GPs to the introduction of free GP care for the under-6s, amid growing concerns that the service is at breaking point.

Of those surveyed, 91% believe it will impact on the quality of care given, and 94% feel that it would reduce consultation times further.

The Government has committed to introducing the scheme this year.

The survey was carried out on behalf of the National Association of General Practitioners ahead of their annual conference, which begins this afternoon.

“These figures show how much pressure general practice is under at the moment,” president Dr Conor McGee said.

Half of doctors are working more than 50 hours per week, with 20% working more than 60.

The majority (84%) of GPs feel that ‘worsening working conditions’ have impacted on their mental health.

“Trying to maintain the gold-standard care you have always provided to that patient within the current environment of scant resources naturally takes its toll,” McGee added.

The situation is detrimental to our patients and those who are charged with caring for them.

He warned that unless funding and resources are provided, the impact will be “catastrophic”, and criticised funding being “ploughed into the hospital system” when GPs deal with 90% of all day-to-day interactions.

The NAGP currently has 1,200 members, out of a total of 2,500 GPs in Ireland. Roughly 600 were surveyed.

Members will be voting on motions to postpone the free GP care scheme, reverse of funding cuts made under FEMPI, and to end an ‘over-reliance on the voluntary and private sector to provide drug and alcohol dependency care’.

Read: Call for meningitis vaccine after death of 11-month-old baby >

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