World Family Doctor Day (19 May) celebrates the central role of family doctors in delivery of healthcare with the theme “Family Doctors – Always There to Care”.

ICGP urges Government to help find solutions to GP shortages problem.

Over 3,500 GPs in Ireland, together with their practice teams, deliver local healthcare to patients in a so-called “cradle-to-grave” service, providing a comprehensive service spanning pregnancy care right through to end-of-life care, within communities across the country.

The Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP), the professional training and education body for general practice in Ireland, has marked World Family Doctor Day (19 May) by recognising the substantial role of GPs in healthcare for local communities.

Over 3,500 GPs work in Ireland in large and small practices, delivering a vast range of services to the public. According to a recent study, an Irish person visits their GP an estimated 4.34 times a year, while the average consultation time is 13.7 minutes.1 

GPs were the first port of call for people with COVID-19 symptoms during the pandemic, as 85% of cases were dealt with exclusively in the community. GPs also played a central role in the national vaccine programme, delivering vaccines to the older population and those in vulnerable groups.

The recent national roll-out of structured Chronic Disease Management programmes in general practice has also enhanced the quality of care of people with long-term conditions. 

The President of the ICGP, Prof. Tom O’Dowd, said:
“Continuity of care is a fundamental feature of a GP’s work. We provide care in all stages of patients’ lives, and throughout the big and small moments. GPs worldwide celebrate World Family Doctor Day in recognition of the role GPs play in their communities, and the unique connection that they have with their patients.”

The Chairman of the ICGP Board, Dr John Farrell, said:
On World Family Doctor Day we celebrate the essential role of GPs in the Irish health service, and we also urge the Government to help us find a solution to the GP shortages problem. We know that there are dozens of communities reliant on locum GPs in the absence of GPs to replace retiring doctors, especially in rural Ireland.”

Dr Andrée Rochfort, Director, Quality, Improvement & Doctors’ Health Programme, with the ICGP, said:
Supporting patients to live healthier lives is at the core of continuity of healthcare and is a key element of job satisfaction of family doctors. Despite the extreme pressures on the overall health system, GPs with their GP practice teams, and with out-of-hours GP services, continue to do their best to ensure they are always there to care.”

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




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

Tel. 01 2542984 / 087 2239830  Email:


References1 BMC Primary Care, How many general practice consultations occur in Ireland annually? Cross-sectional data from a survey of general practices, C. Collins & R. Homeniuk, 2021,

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