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'There just aren't enough hours . . . something's got to give'

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Dr Kevin Kelly believes from his own experience that it is now easier for people with illness to get a discretionary medical card

Dr Kevin Kelly believes from his own experience that it is now easier for people with illness to get a discretionary medical card

Dr Kevin Kelly believes from his own experience that it is now easier for people with illness to get a discretionary medical card

I AM surprised that I have found the time to write this, but I felt it was important to comment on the NAGP survey.

The results are not surprising to me, as I feel they perfectly reflect the reality of being a GP in Ireland.

I love my job. The best part for me is the patient contact. That real face to face time and the relationship that GPs have with their patients that is unique in medicine.

I don't only get to practice medicine that is varied interesting and challenging.

I have also traded tears, joy, recipes, parenting and business tips and laughter with children and adults from all walks of life.

So why am I so disheartened at general practice today in Ireland?

I am writing this in my surgery. My day started today arriving an hour late due to getting stuck in traffic at an accident.

I ended up running an hour behind all morning, so lunchtime didn't really happen. It never really does - as this is when I have to make phone calls and do paperwork.

Today will be my third 12-hour day this week and I haven't seen my baby son any of these days.

I leave at 7.15am and get home 13 hours later having seen upwards of 15 patients each session.

This evening I still have mountains of post and phone calls to get through and tests result to follow up.

My week is a true reflection of the way GPs work in this country.

GPs are some of the hardest working doctors I know.

We see the bulk of illness, yet the bulk of funding goes elsewhere.

The survey reflects the concern we have about the future of our speciality.

We are bursting at the seams trying to cope with the needs of our existing patients, so how will we cope with the proposed changes that are coming down the road?

There just aren't enough hours, and something's got to give.

Dr Nina Byrnes is a Dublin-based GP.

Irish Independent