5 December 2018

GPs Concerned About Being Able to Deliver Patient Care This Winter

A recent survey of RCGP Northern Ireland members has revealed that GPs are concerned that pressures on the health service will negatively affect their ability to deliver patient care this winter.

89% of GPs surveyed are concerned that their increased workload during the winter months will negatively affect their ability to deliver patient care.

This figure is unsurprising given that 95% of GPs agreed that their workload increases over winter.

The College's Patient Group in Northern Ireland is reminding people about the important '3 Before GP' message and urging people to think carefully about the support and treatment they might require from the health service during this busy period.

RCGPNI Patient Group Chair Karen Mooney said: "Despite the pressures in the health service, all year round we can rely on our GPs for support and treatment when we need it. GP teams work very hard in challenging circumstances to meet the demand from patients and do what they can to care for us in the community.

"This winter, we know that our GP practices are going to be under immense strain, and we can do our bit to help support our health service. Think about what you really need; think 3 Before GP. Can you care for yourself and manage minor ailments at home? Can you find the advice you need using safe and reputable online resources such as the NI Direct Stay Well website? Can you seek advice from your community pharmacist?

"We all have a responsibility to help protect our health services and to make sure that those who are the most ill and vulnerable in our society are able to access the care that they need."

RCGPNI Chair, Dr Grainne Doran, said: "GPs strive to provide the very best care to all of our patients. Over the winter period, there is no doubt that our workload hugely increases.

"For more minor conditions such as coughs and colds, patients can get great advice and over the counter medicines from local pharmacies. This will be faster and more efficient and will help ensure appointments with a doctor are available for those who need them most. But it is important to remember that if you think you need medical attention, or if symptoms don't improve, do not hesitate to seek medical advice.

"I am grateful for the insight brought by the RCGPNI Patient Group in supporting and championing the '3 Before GP' initiative this year."

Further Information
Clare Higgins
07341 737 033


  1. ComRes interviewed 127 GPs in Northern Ireland online and by telephone between 16 August – 26 September 2018. Data were not weighted. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables are available from www.comresglobal.com
  2. The Royal College of General Practitioners is the largest membership organisation in the United Kingdom solely for GPs. It aims to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and to act as the 'voice' of GPs on issues concerned with education; training; research; and clinical standards. Founded in 1952, the RCGP has just over 50,000 members who are committed to improving patient care, developing their own skills and promoting general practice as a discipline. RCGP NI represent over 1300 members in Northern Ireland.