World Family Doctor Day (19 May) celebrates general practice and recognises the substantial role of GPs in managing the COVID-19 pandemic at community level.

General Practice has remained open during entire pandemic, with flexible response and vital role in COVID-19 vaccination roll-out.

Over 21 million GP consultations in Ireland every year, recent ICGP survey shows.

The Irish College of General Practitioners, the professional body for general practice in Ireland, has marked World Family Doctor Day (19 May) by recognising the substantial role of GPs in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Almost 3,500 GPs work in Ireland in large and small practices, delivering a vast range of services to the public – each person visits their GP an estimated 4.34 times a year and the average consultation time is 13.7 min.

From the time the first pandemic lockdown began in March 2020, GPs adapted with tele-consultations, e-prescribing and video consultations.

Since then, GPs have been the first port of call for people with COVID-19 symptoms and when the vaccine programme began, GPs played a central role in delivering vaccines to the older population and those in vulnerable groups.

The President of the ICGP, Dr Margaret O’Riordan, said: “This is a day to recognise the substantial role that GPs play in Irish healthcare, caring from everyone from newborn babies to the oldest family member, providing specialist care across a wide range of medical conditions in a flexible and responsive manner”Dr O’Riordan added: “We ask the public to be patient as we deal with an expanded workload at this time. We know that sometimes they find it difficult to get an appointment quickly; practice teams are working at their limits.”

The Chairman of the ICGP Board, Dr John Farrell, said: “GPs’ workload had increased substantially in the past year and a half due to the pandemic. We know that many are working very long hours and at weekends to deliver the vaccine programme on top of the normal workload. We know from recent surveys that GPs work an average of 13.8 hours per day. “

Dr Andrée Rochfort, Director, Quality, Improvement & Doctors’ Health Programme ICGP said: “During the pandemic, GPs have continued to provide patient care from antenatal to baby vaccinations, elderly chronic disease management, while fielding hundreds of calls from patients concerned about COVID-19, while mobilising practice teams to arrange the COVID-19 vaccination programme, and dealing with day-to-day queries from their patients. It’s been an extraordinary year.”

World Family Doctor Day is an annual event – find out more at

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ISSUED BY Aileen O’Meara, Communications Consultant, Irish College of General Practitioners.

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