Featured Doctor


Ireland /Romania - family doctor

Andrei is a young doctor who trained in Romania but now works in rural Ireland.

- What work to do now?

I work as a general practitioner in a busy practice in Listowel, Co Kerry, Ireland. The town has about 5000 inhabitants, and the surgery I work for has about 12,000 registered patients (town and surroundings). I am currently in a GP assistantship role with the view to becoming partner at the end of this year.
As one could expect, rural general practice would be more challenging than an urban role. This is partly due to the long waiting lists of the county hospital and also because of the historical role of GPs in the rural communities, where most of the patient's health problems would be sorted out locally.

- Other interesting things you have done?

I have engaged with a charity that has provided me with the tools (and within the next month, a car) in order for me to provide prehospital emergency services alongside the national ambulance service. I thoroughly enjoy that role and in our part of the county the national ambulance resources are scarce. I am called for cardiac arrests in a radius of 30 km outside the surgery, and within the next two months I would be tasked directly by the ambulance service to various medical, surgical, and trauma emergencies.

- What are the differences and similarities of working as a GP in Ireland in Romania?

I was exposed to general practice in Romania for part of my training (this was a few years ago). While I can't be absolutely certain, I think at this point in time, working as a GP in Romania is quite restrictive - in terms of adhering to quite strict "guidelines" and budget restraints. I know for a fact that most Romanian surgeries would not have access to diagnostics and for public patients a referral for bloods would take quite a long time. In this aspect, I am quite happy to report that in Ireland I am able to see a patient, draw the bloods and have a working diagnosis within a day. The problem in Ireland comes next, when I need to refer a public patient for specialist consult and/or treatment. It does depend on which hospital and what specialty you do refer the patient to, but as a rule, there is a significant waiting time in Ireland. In this aspect Romania is much faster. You would likely get seen as an out-patient the following week, and (imaging) investigations and treatment plan would be arranged within a month for most conditions.

For myself, the working arrangements and liberties regarding my practice in Ireland are far superior to those in Romania. You do have to use all your expertise and experience in Ireland, especially rural Ireland, where you work as an internist, cardiologist, rheumatologist, paediatrician, geriatrician, community health officer, emergency medicine provider, palliative care provider, and so on. I can safely say that, for me, the denomination of "family doctor" actually finds its true meaning in rural Ireland.

- Your interests at work and privately?

At work, I can say that I find it more rewarding when consulting and treating patients with cardiology issues, and also when I manage "emergency" presentations (both in the surgery and out in the field). I also aim to engage in quality projects, to further streamline certain processes at work and hopefully introduce a plan for the surgery to go as "paper free" as possible. My other near-term goal is to engage with the University College Dublin in their advance paramedic training scheme - I was briefly involved in teaching before and I did find it quite rewarding.

Privately, I thoroughly enjoy going on short or long holidays, city breaks, and generally exploring new places. I guess this wouldn't be a surprise, as most of my working week is spent being quite static.