Senior physicians have warned that GPs are struggling to cope with increased demand for their services.
Nomination requests have risen sharply since the easing of Covid lockdown measures, according to MEN.
Dr Siobhan Brennan, a general practitioner from Stockport, says doctors are being pushed to the limit due to a backlog of patients awaiting hospital referrals and pressure to implement the Covid vaccination program.
“We’re drowning right now,” Dr Brennan said.
“We try to go about our usual daily tasks treating people with long term health problems and on top of that we have had the immunization schedule to complete.
“Recently the demand has increased again. I actually can’t remember the last time I had an empty date.
“Burnout is becoming a very real problem.”
Dr Brennan says he has noticed a change in attitude towards GPs among patients.
“There seems to be a perception that GP practices were not opened during the pandemic,” she adds.
“I have noticed a lot of vitriol being posted about generalists in the media and by politicians, which seems to be backlashing us as professionals.
“It’s like we’ve gone from being heroes to being villains during this pandemic.
“We have a huge number of patients who are aggressive and abusive towards us, often because their hospital appointments have been delayed.
“Patients seem to think they are entitled to same day appointments when in reality we are fighting fires.
“General practice is on its knees right now.
“I’m an ultra-marathoner and believe me it’s easier to run a 50 mile race than a week in GP right now.”
Dr Bob Mathewson, a general practitioner for over 35 years, describes the demand as unprecedented.
“We have six to seven practicing doctors and they have told me about the pressure they are under.
“As a senior associate, I’m in charge of organizing resources, but unfortunately I don’t always have the answers.
“We need to hire more staff and even that’s difficult. We hope that a new doctor will join us in June now that we have cleared all the obstacles, but it will probably not be enough. enormous pressure.
“During a telephone operation, I took 35 calls deemed urgent between 8 am and 2 pm.
“Normally we would process about 15 during that time, so it’s constant without interruption.
“Instead of things taking 10 minutes, they now take 20, because you have to disinfect the room after every visit.
“We can deal with face masks, visors and hand sanitizer, but it’s all the other things that add to our workload.
“It comes to us from all directions; we have more electronic consultations, more e-mails and e-letters in the field from hospitals; more and more people having blood tests expected for 18 months. “
However, Dr Mathewson said the majority of patients understand the pressures the system is facing.
He added, “Our patients have been quite tolerant and understanding throughout it all.
“When we say we can’t refer them to the hospital because of the coronavirus, they always understand the hardships that entails.”