General Practitioners are local, community-based doctors. A General Practitioner (GP) is usually the first doctor that people see about non-emergency illnesses and health issues. These doctors are an important part of the health family of the Republic of Ireland.
As a GP, you would be located in the community. You would treat patients with all types of medical conditions. Where you are unable to treat them, you would then refer them for further treatment. This would usually be to a hospital or a specialist.
In Ireland, there has been a shortage of GPs and other health professionals in recent years. This means the position is increasingly well-regarded and well-paid.
What Does a General Practitioner Do
GPs must be able to treat a wide variety of conditions. These can affect any part of the body. This can include some psychiatric issues as well as working with all types of disease and injury. Other medical issues a General Practitioner might deal with are ongoing medical conditions. Any medical condition can fall within the remit of a General Practitioner. It all depends on who turns up at the medical practice.
The range of services on offer can vary between GPs. However, generally, the types of work falling within the remit of a General Practitioner include:
- Diagnosis: You will work with patients to accurately diagnose neurological problems.
- Referral: You must map routes to support new patients. This includes referring them to a hospital or a specialist doctor.
- Management: Dealing with long-term patients is a major part of the work of a GP. These people often have complex multiple conditions.
- Prescribing: GPs also provide prescriptions for medicine
- Vaccination: Some GPs also offer immunisation and vaccination services.
A smaller number of GPs may also provide maternity care and family planning services.
You would also work with the wider healthcare family, including many other highly specialised professionals.
Who Employs General Practitioners
General Practitioners in the Republic of Ireland work within medical practices. These are located in the community. These medical practices are owned by the GPs who work there.
How do General Practitioners Get Paid
Lots of the healthcare done by GPs is done free of charge to the patient. This is because they are paid for by the government. You can see a GP free of charge in Ireland in two ways. These are either if you are entitled to a medical card or if you have a GP visit card. This covers almost half the total population. In fact, around 37% of the population has free public healthcare via a Medical Card. Another 9% are allowed to see their doctor for free with a GP Visit Card. Specifically, adults over 70 and children under 6 are entitled to a GP visit card. This allows them to visit a GP free of charge.
If you are not covered for free, you will usually choose to take out private health insurance. This option is done by around 40% of the population.
Most GPs are technically part of the private system. This is why they charge a fee. In reality, most GPs offer a mix of public and private charging. This depends on the age and financial circumstances of the patient.
However, a smaller number of GPs provide services only to private patients. You would usually have to pay to see a GP as a private patient.
Job Salary for a General Practitioner in Ireland
General Practitioner salaries can vary quite significantly. This usually depends on a General Practitioner’s experience and seniority.
There are also a variety of sources for how much a GP is paid. One source says the average GP salary is €109,231 per year. Another source pegs it close by at €108,556 per year. However, there is also some bigger data variation. For example, one source says the average general practitioner’s gross salary in Ireland is €161,365.
In addition to this, GPs practising in Dublin will usually earn at least 10% more than other parts of Ireland. This is because of the much higher cost of living in Dublin.
General Salary Levels in Ireland
Some other figures are useful. These will allow you to compare the GP salary in Ireland with other professions. And they will show how a GP salary in Ireland is well-paid.
According to the Central Statistics Office, the national average salary in Ireland is €45,324. That’s a salary after tax of €34,815 a year. It is also equivalent to €2,901 a month. Or you can look at it as €670 a week.
A good salary in Ireland is said to start at €45,000 across the country. This rises to €50,000 in Dublin. This overall translates to €2,887 every month after tax. It is also equivalent to €3,102 monthly before tax.
Further, the current Minimum Wage in Ireland is €11.30. This must be paid to people aged 20 and over. This means the minimum untaxed income for a 40-hour week is €452. Per month this works out to just under €2000. It is also equivalent to around €23,500 per year.
How Often Is a General Practitioner Normally Paid
As a General Practitioner, you can normally expect to be paid a salary every month. You and the other GPs in the practice will set the salary amount.
Who Negotiates a Job Salary for a General Practitioner
The basic salary levels of General Practitioners are set through negotiations. These happen between the government of Ireland and the medical union representing GPs.
What Sort of Contracts Do General Practitioners Have
General Practitioners will have permanent contracts with the medical practice. Most GPs will also own part of that practice. This will mean these contracts set out all the relevant terms of employment.
After completion of the necessary training, General Practitioners’ pay increases significantly. Further, this is likely to continue throughout your career. Indeed, as your career progresses, you may own more of the medical practice.
Additional benefits of being a General Practitioner are:
- You have the potential for a high income early in your career.
- You will also get an excellent pension scheme.
- Additionally, there is good holiday entitlement.
How to Become a General Practitioner
The road to becoming a GP in Ireland is a long and thorough one. These factors reflect the unique responsibilities and duties of the role.
Understanding the educational and training requirements to become a General Practitioner are important if you want to become one. To do this you will need to have a medical degree first. After that, you will need to take additional training for four years.
Qualifications/Courses – General Practitioner
To become a General Practitioner, you will first need to get a degree in medicine. You earn this from a medical school. Further, to enter a medical school you will need around 600 points in your school leaving certificate. This figure equates to at least five A1 grades. You will also need to pass the Health Professions Admissions Test (HPAT). This test will measure your verbal and numerical reasoning. It will also check your cognitive and interpersonal skills.
There are six medical schools in Ireland. These are RCSI, UCD, Trinity College Dublin, NUI Galway, University of Limerick and UCC. Each one of them offers a degree in medicine that lasts five years. Further, in your final year you will work as an intern at a hospital.
Additionally, you will also need to sit a professional membership entrance exam. This will be for the Irish College of General Practitioners.
Once you have graduated, there are four more years of training. Two of these are spent in a hospital. The second two happen in a GP environment. Both types of training will come with close supervision.
Once this is all done, you will be qualified as a doctor. This means you can either remain in a hospital and work toward becoming a consultant, or you can focus on community care and become a General Practitioner.
General Skills Required
- Excellent problem-solving and diagnostic skills are essential. In addition, General Practitioners must be able to deal with a wide variety of medical issues.
- Medicine is always developing. This means you must be prepared to keep learning about new issues in medicine. This applies throughout your working life.
- You must have strong emotional resilience. GPs also need a calm temperament. Further, you must be able to work well under pressure is required.
- You will also need to be able to put patients at their ease. It means being able to gain their confidence.
- GPs must be able to work sensitively and constructively with patient fears.
- Excellent communication skills are needed. This is because you will be working with a wide variety of different people from different walks of life. There will usually be a wide variety of ages too. Remember that this will include the families of patients as well as the patient themselves.
- You must be a good team player. This means having the ability to work constructively with others.
- Additionally, there are a few other office-based skills needed. Such as good computer literacy in order to record information relating to patients. Additionally, confidentiality relating to patient records is needed.
- Because you will be part owner of a business, some business management skills will also be needed.
- A clean Garda vetting check is also required. This is because you will be working with children or vulnerable adults. This system of Garda vetting is conducted by the Garda Siochána National Vetting Bureau. It works by sending a vetting disclosure to the organisation that requested one.
Mechanical Skills Required
You will need to be able to operate all of the medical apparatus found in a medical surgery. This will be needed to support the health of a patient.
Challenges of Being a General Practitioner
- Any aspect of health care is challenging for all the professionals involved. But being a General Practitioner can be especially challenging. This is because of the range of illnesses of patients.
- Emotional resilience is absolutely essential. Indeed, all areas of medicine are high-stress environments.
- You will also need to maintain a professional outlook. That means treating the public with respect. Indeed, no matter how difficult a patient is being, professionalism is essential.
- Remember too that exposure to unpleasant sights and smells is part of the job.
- No two days are the same when you are a GP. Indeed, you must always be prepared for the unexpected. This can be exciting but also challenging at times.
Type of Person Suited for this Work
- An extremely innovative and thoughtful person makes a good GP.
- You will need to be someone who can apply diagnostic skills with confidence.
- A person with a genuine interest in healthcare makes a good GP.
- You will also need to be someone with a calm outlook. This includes the ability to deal with stress.
- You also need to be a team player. This can mean taking direction from more senior team members.
- Additionally, you may need to be someone willing to learn as your career progresses.
- You also need to be a responsible person. You must be dedicated to the care of a patient for the duration of their treatment.
General Expected Working Hours
You can expect to work at least a forty-hour week. Further, you may have on-call commitments.
Location of Work
As a GP, you would be located in a medical practice. These are based in the community. You would treat patients with all types of medical conditions. Where you are unable to treat them, you would then refer them for further treatment. This would usually be to a hospital or a specialist.
It is possible to build a successful and well-paid career as a General Practitioner. Many General Practitioners make a huge contribution to medicine. Further, this is likely to continue throughout your career. Indeed, as your career progresses, you may own more of the medical practice.
Another option is to become a medical specialist. When you do this, you move into the hospital sector. In this environment, the salaries can be even higher.