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I don’t regret getting into medicine. I’ve had some patients for 30 odd years, and I thought it would be upsetting for them to come and find that I was no longer here, so I ended up writing 190 personal letters

After almost half a century on the medical beat, Dublin based  and Trinidad and Tobago born Dr Anthony L. Hussain (74), is retiring at the end of next month. He spent 36 years of that time in Ireland, and has seen off around 20 different Health Minister over the course of his long career.  With that background, the Rathfarnham GP has just about seen and done it all.

The biggest change in his time is how technology has had a positive influence on medicine.  However unfortunately he points out that some things have stayed the same. “What hasn’t improved is the role of the GP. The fact is that, in the scale of things in the health service, the HSE has no time for doctors and they never have had,” he claimed.

He continued:  “They don’t treat them very well. They’ve cut the travel allowance for house calls which is just not viable, particularly in the country, where people are really in need of them. Surely it would be in the interest of the HSE to lessen the load of the hospital by investing more into the GP but the penny doesn’t seem to have dropped- in that area nothing has changed”.

“General Practice isn’t going to do well because they’re not putting enough money into it, even with this new contract I don’t have much hope. The Irish- and I regard myself as Irish now- have a plethora of unions because we just love to talk. If I had any influence over the GP contracts, one of the main points I’d address would be to ensure that doctors are properly remunerated. But they are not – it’s always the bare minimum,” he stressed.

Dr Hussain was full of praise for the standards doctors continue to provide, despite the challenging circumstances. “The GPs now are amazing, they are being trained to a very high standard and they cover everything. Before, there was a rule that you had to be five years in general practice before you could get a GMS list. So a guy who had actually taken more time to go off and get more specialised was actually at a loss then. “I don’t regret getting into medicine. I’ve had some patients for 30 odd years, and I thought it would be upsetting for them to come and find that I was no longer here, so I ended up writing 190 personal letters. My best memory in medicine would have to be the patients. I’ve had some patients who have come to me very upset because I have treated them all of their lives and they had hoped that I would do the same for their children too,” he added.