'Illness hits much younger in these areas'
Published 19/10/2015 | 02:30
It's an average day in Dr Edel McGinnity's GP surgery. She has already seen two patients who are at risk of suicide.
Dr McGinnity, who practises in Mulhuddart in north west Dublin, not only has a huge workload but many of her patients are complex, suffering not just physical illness but all psycho-social problems.
She is among the family doctors working in poor areas who have formed General Practitioners in the Deep End, who are hoping to get a fairer slice of health funding for their patients and are mapping out 100 surgeries looking after the most deprived.
"Every GP in the country has patients with lots of illnesses but in these areas it happens much younger," she says.
"We have more patients with these multiple illnesses. The most common second illness is a psychiatric illness," said Dr McGinnity.
Yet under the medical card scheme Dr McGinnity gets paid the same yearly State capitation rate as a colleague in a well-off area. There is no weighting for deprived practices and no financial incentives to encourage doctors to work in these areas.