Northern Ireland’s under-pressure GPs have taken the unusual step of asking patients to self-treat minor illnesses common over the winter period as the staffing crisis in general practice has left remaining GPs each with average patient lists of over 2,000.

British Medical Association’s Northern Ireland General Practitioners Committee (NIGPC) has written a letter to the public warning them that due to the "unprecedented pressure in terms of increased workload and a severe shortage of doctors" and “abject failure of local politicians to address these issues has exacerbated an already critical situation”, they are encouraging patients to “deal with minor illnesses such as sore throats, coughs and colds with treatment at home.” Anyone eligible is also being asked to get the flu vaccine ahead of what is expected to be a severe influenza epidemic over the winter period. The letter was sent to all newspapers across Northern Ireland and is supported by a poster campaign throughout the country’s GP surgeries urging patients to do what they can to treat minor winter ailments.

Read the full BMA Press Release...