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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Retiring GP forced to come back as locum on first day

A GP in Fermanagh has been forced to put his retirement plans on hold after being unable to find a replacement doctor to ensure continued care for his patients.

Dr Roy Leary officially retired last Wednesday but was immediately back in his practice working as a locum after job advertisements failed to get a single response.

His single-handed practice in Lisnaskea in Northern Ireland currently employs one other salaried GP.

Dr Leary has spent two years trying to find a solution to his upcoming retirement and at one point as adamant he would not be coming back as a locum but felt in the end he had little choice.

He said: ‘In County Fermanagh we have a lot of people around the same age group, all retiring and it is getting very difficult. There are so few young doctors around.’

With group of other local GPs, Dr Leary is trying to reach an agreement to amalgamate four practices to provide continued care to patients.

‘We knew there were going to be difficulties. We are trying to do our best by the patients but it is becoming increasingly difficult to do that,’ he said.

Dr Leary said his current plans are to do no more work past the end of March.

The BMA have been warning for some months that general practice in County Fermanagh is on a precipice.

Dr Tom Black, GPC Northern Ireland chair said they had been warning the Department of Health about problems in Fermanagh for over a year but no meaningful action to avert the crisis had been taken.

‘Obviously as doctors we don’t want to leave any patients with no local GP, and therefore the local doctors are having to put their own plans on hold to mitigate for the Department’s inaction.

‘We cannot wait any longer, we’ve already begun the process of gathering undated resignations and the situation in Fermanagh only underscores why this action is so important,’ he said.

Readers' comments (8)

  • doctordog.

    Good job he didn't have a world cruise booked.

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  • Highly commendable that this GP should be so conscientious as to come back and try to hold services together till a replacement can be found. At times it does come to mind, why would 70 year old colleagues want to still trudge on in a profession on which even the PM is spewing venom and threatening to ostracize hard working GPs for something they aren't to blame for.

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  • No one forced him. Just saying.

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  • I hope he is charging a very high locum rate

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  • I'm with Richard Croft above. If 'forced' or emotionally blackmailed to return I would be making public that I am happy to return for a very high 'penalty' rate. Then the surgery administrator could not argue they cannot get a GP, so would have to staff it. Similarly through it will motivate the administrator to be more proactive in finding an alternative.

    If worried about being called greedy, give the difference between fair and penalty locum pay to an unrelated charity.

    Otherwise the risk is using goodwill to paper over the cracks, means nothing definitive will be done about the problems in GP recruitment.

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  • Healthy Cynic

    To rub salt in the wound will his pension be stopped?

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  • Surely the Health Board has a responsibility to the patients, and what have they done about the problem??
    Especially if they are currently running the Practice?

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  • Surely he has to return as he would have to pay staff redundancies if the practice closes? GP's do not have limited liability meaning this can be a significant personal cost.

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