PRIVATE patients stressed out by the recession are spending an average of 12 minutes longer on a visit to their GP.
And a growing number of private patients, who usually spend around 10 minutes with their family doctor, are coming with a greater range of stress-based illness, "often recession based".
According to the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), 92pc of these patients show signs of more illness and they frequently delay visits to their doctor.
The IMO made the observation to the Department of Health which is set to cut around €70m from the fees GPs are paid for treating medical card holders.
The doctors say any more cuts will lead to pressure on their services and that they cannot cross-subsidise medical card holders because of falling income from private patients.
There are 1.8 million people covered by a medical card.
Meanwhile, pregnant women who have been advised to get the whooping cough vaccine must pay for the jab.
The HSE confirmed the vaccine and administration fee are not free. It means women will end up paying well over €50 to their GP.