A GP WHO must work 11 different jobs just to keep his practice afloat has told how he may still be forced to close his doors and emigrate if the Government presses ahead with Universal Health Insurance and free GP care for under sixes.
Dr Emmet Kerin (35) established his Limerick city practice, Treaty Medical Centre, along with colleague, Dr Jason McMahon, in 2012.
However, successive fee reductions and a loss of private patient income has forced the pair to take on multiple additional roles in order to keep the struggling practice afloat.
Dr Kerin, inset, warned that despite the extra workload, the practice was continuing to make a loss and could be forced to close if more fee cuts happen .
"I am struggling to stay in Ireland. I work 80 hours a week to support the practice as it grows. I have no problem with hard work, having been a hospital doctor for years and I love my job, but our model is now failing as confidence and employment that we need outside our practice fails," he warned.
Dr Kerin supports his practice with a range of other jobs. He holds three to four different posts in the University of Limerick, tutoring a number of classes and working in clinical research. He also works as a forensic examiner for the sexual assault unit on overnight call, works as a medical officer in the community hospital, as a locum doctor and for Shannondoc, covering out-of-hours calls.
On top of this, he works as a match doctor for GAA and rugby games and carries out minor operations.
"It's often more than 80 hours a week and this is mirrored by James as well," he said.
While both partners are working around the clock, their practice is still struggling as a result of cuts to the medical card scheme, cuts to over-70s care and for administering the flu vaccine.
"Rural Practice is becoming unviable and will start closing; when it is gone there will be countless articles as to why we let this happen," he warned.