For immediate release
GPs ask public for patience in making appointments with GPs
Considerable increase in staff workload due to vaccination programme for over 70’s and vulnerable patients
Public asked not to phone GPs for information about AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine rollout to over 60’s
The Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) has urged the public to be patient in seeking appointments with their GPs and to understand that there are longer delays at present due to the extra workload caused by the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
Since January, most GP practices have been heavily involved in the preparation and delivery of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout to the elderly, and to vulnerable patients with high-risk conditions.
There have been several last-minute changes to the rollout plans and difficulties with supply and deliveries.
This has led to a huge increase in workload for practice staff and GPs in managing the vaccination rollout alongside the usual day-to-day demands.
Dr Diarmuid Quinlan, ICGP Medical Director, said: “GPs are ready and willing to do whatever is possible to ensure our patients are seen when they need to. However, we are living in unprecedented times and we ask people to understand that sometimes we cannot give an appointment as quickly as we would like, and that very sick patients must take precedence.
“Furthermore, practice teams have taken on a significant extra workload to ensure the delivery of the mRNA vaccines to the over 70s and those with high-risk conditions. These vaccines are highly effective but must be managed and delivered with care and within a tight time frame. This is logistically complex, and complicated by the changes in supplies and deliveries.
“We are asking the public to understand the pressures our staff are working under, and to be ready for delays at times. Please check your GP’s website for information before phoning, or go to the HSE website (https://www2.hse.ie/covid-19-vaccine/) for the latest details of the vaccine rollout. We will contact you when your turn has come.
“We appreciate that there is a lot of anxiety about getting vaccines especially for those at high risk. Please understand GPs have no discretion in deciding who gets the vaccine and when. Please don’t pressurise your GP unduly.”
Dr Nuala O’Connor, the ICGP’s Clinical Lead on COVID-19 said: “The vaccination programme is very good news, as these are very effective vaccines for our patients and we understand how anxious people are to receive them. But this is a huge logistical exercise and we are dealing with uncertainty in supplies and in changes to guidelines on vaccines for different age groups.
“GPs are not involved in the AstraZeneca vaccine to the over 60’s and those in that age group are asked to go to the HSE portal and please not to phone their GP practice.” ENDS
ISSUED BY: Aileen O’Meara, Communications Consultant, Irish College of General Practitioners.
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