Hospital waiting lists putting pressure on GPs, says Dr. Paul Molloy

Derry GP Paul Molloy, has told the ‘Journal’ long waiting lists in the secondary care system in the north west are having a knock-on impact for general practice in the city.

Dr. Molloy, secretary of the Western Local Medical Committee (LMC), was reacting to the revelation in this week’s paper that tens of thousands of people have been waiting over a year for a consultant led appointment in the Western Trust.

On Tuesday the paper reported how at the end of March, of 43,624 patients waiting to be seen in the Western Trust, over half (24,971) were waiting for more than 52 weeks.

Hide Ad

Responding to the figures Dr. Molloy said the waiting times for outpatients were having an impact for GPs in the city who have faced unprecedented pressures over the past two years as a result of the coronavirus health emergency.

Dr. Paul Molloy

He remarked: “Over the past eighteen months GPs have been endlessly harassed about their accessibility, while the growing waiting lists received little if any attention.

“Throughout the pandemic GPs have been under immense pressure.

Hide Ad

“We are challenged with all the same pressures as the Trust but have maintained a service throughout.

Patients may have to wait a week or a few weeks for a non-urgent problem, but they are still sorted out.

Hide Ad

“We have the same, if not worse, problems with recruiting new doctors.

“We have more demand for our service now than ever before and we have had to adopt new ways of working.”

Hide Ad
Read More
Almost 25,000 waiting over a year to see consultant

“If a patient can’t get their operation or outpatient appointment they end up back with us, adding to our workload and reducing the number of appointments we can devote to new patients,” he observed.

Hide Ad

Dr. Molloy has been outspoken about how demoralising relentless criticism of GPs and their surgery staff from some quarters has been since the beginning of the COVID-19 health crisis.

“There have been issues that are beyond anyone’s control - the pandemic, a lack of new doctors trained and pension tax which stops doctors doing waiting list work,” he said.

Hide Ad

This week the ‘Journal’ reported how thousands of patients (3,247) were waiting over a year for an urgent outpatient appointment in the Western Trust at the end of the march, with 11,139 patients waiting in total.

Dr. Molloy said: “Despite these horrendous waiting lists, there are actions in place.

Hide Ad

“These include elective care hospitals and that patients may be asked to go to a hospital outside their area if quicker appointments can be offered.”

The Derry GP said theseinitiatives can help take some of the pressure off both the primary and secondary care systems.

Hide Ad