The Belfast Telegraph reports that the out of hours service is being run with the help of around 30 Polish doctors, who in turn pay for locums in Poland to attend to their own patients back home.
“There is no shortfall in GP numbers in Northern Ireland,” the DHSS said. In order to provide OOHS services in Northern Ireland, all GPs, including those from other European Economic Area countries, must be registered with the GMC and meet the requirements of Health and Social Services Boards’ Performers List.”
Dr John Porteous who runs a practice in Lisnakea welcomed the arrival of Polish doctors. “Contract work guarantees you so many shifts per month. But it pays you less per hour than freelance, which is what I do because I have surgery during the day. Freelancers get the shifts left over after the contract guys are finished – you just go onto the website at the start of every month and pick the shifts you want. Fermanagh fills up very quickly because everybody likes working here.”
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty