Medicopolitical Digest

Medicopolitical digestNorthern Ireland GPs complain of stress and workloadConsultants reach agreement on working time directiveGPs welcome NHS information strategy

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 24 October 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1161

Northern Ireland GPs complain of stress and workload

Northern Ireland GPs have complained directly to civil servants about their increased workload and the stress and low morale that this is causing.

Professor Domhnall MacAuley, a GP in west Belfast and professor of primary healthcare research at the University of Ulster at Jordanstown, told a meeting of GPs in Ballymena that a few years ago they had been the keenest and cleverest of university graduates. “What has the health service done to batter these doctors?” Addressing the permanent secretary at the Department of Health and Social Services and the director of primary care at the Health and Social Services Executive, Professor MacAuley said that the profession and the health department had to work together to improve morale and create a situation where they wanted to take part in research and development.

>Fall in applications

There are about 1200 GPs in Northern Ireland, many working in isolated areas with no access to out of hours cooperatives. There is also a pool of about 140 locums, but not all want to be principals. The chairman of the General Practitioners Committee (NI), Dr Brian Patterson, reported that five years ago …

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