What is a Standard Appointment?
When we refer to a Standard Appointment or Consultation, we mean a consultation with one of our doctors of 10 to 15 minutes in duration. During this consult our doctors can safely deal with a single issue. Usually this will be something that has made you feel unwell in the last few days, not something that you have been suffering from for months.... or years)
A standard consultation also includes our Video consultation service or Phone consults.
Typical issues dealt with in a 'Standard Consultation' would include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Coughs/Colds/Fevers etc
- Urinary Tract or Kidney Infections
- Routine Script such as Contraceptive Pill etc
- Acute Illness (something that has made you feel unwell in the last few days)
It can take 5-15 minutes to safely diagnose and manage a single issue for one patient.
While it can seem perfectly reasonable to save up all your issues for your one visit of the year to your GP, it is not a style of medicine that we practice at GBMC.
From a Health & Safety perspective it does not lead to good outcomes for you as a patient and we will not compromise your healthcare by pretending otherwise.
If you have a 'shopping list' of issues or a problem of long-standing, you need to let us know in advance as we may need to book an extended consultation for you.
Issues that require an Extended consultation include (but are not limited to):
- Any Mental Health issue (but not review appointments)
- Any consultation in which you wish to discuss multiple issues
- Any health problem of long-standing (especially
- Second opinions
We are happy to book an Extended Consultation for anyone who needs longer with the doctor, but you should be aware that more time costs more money.
This may seem unfair but as well as being a medical centre we are also a small business, with all the costs and overheads of any small business.
The product we are selling is 'Doctor Time' and the more of it you need, the more it costs.
Obviously, you are also buying our medical expertise and all that goes with it, but we take that as read.
Financial concerns aside, we also have the issue of trying to keep our appointments running on time. We have a patient booked in every 15 minutes, so it is essential that we keep on schedule out of fairness to all our patients.
We cannot do this without making some effort to manage the length of our doctor consults.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and for helping us to continue to provide high-quality healthcare to you and your families.
Blood Tests - What do I need to know?
- To have a blood test, you must initially attend the GP for consultation. This can on occasion be carried out by our Nurse, if instructed by the GP.
- Your GP may decide that blood tests would be helpful in forming a diagnosis, or to help get more information about your condition.
- You may be asked to return to our Nurse to have blood taken OR if you are returning for repeat bloods.
- It is vital that you let your GP know if there is something in particular you wish to be tested for and why. Please mention this early in the consultation, not at the end.
- Don't assume blood tests 'look for everything', as they don't. (For example, there is no blood test for 'cancer'). There are thousands of tests that can be done through blood samples and each needs to be ordered specifically.
- Your GP is responsible for choosing the correct test for your specific complaint.
- Your GP must also be vigilant in selecting only tests that may be particularly helpful with your specific combination of symptoms and clinical findings.
- The laboratory (run by the HSE, not us) may not process inappropriate blood tests as they are correctly deemed a waste of valuable resources.
- We are open to discussion about what you have found in your own online searches but the final decision about which blood tests to order rests with your GP because Dr. Google is not licenced to practice as a GP in Ireland.
- The lab will send us a printout of your results, but the doctor who ordered the test is ultimately responsible for interpreting abnormal results in the context of an individual patient.
- Once your results have been reviewed by your GP, we will make contact with you.
- If your blood results are normal, you will receive a text message from us stating this. Please make sure we have your correct phone number.
- If your GP needs to discuss your bloods with you, you will be asked to make an appointment to come back for review. Alternatively, your GP may phone you to discuss your results.
- We can give you a copy of your results if you require one but only after your GP has reviewed the results and contacted you about them.
- We will try to avoid bringing you back unnecessarily for repeat tests for minor abnormalities, but we are responsible if your blood results show the start of a more significant disease process that we should have acted on.
- If we ask you to come back for review it is because your GP has decided that this course of action is best.
- We can do blood tests at any time except after 11am on Fridays.
- If you require fasting bloods, please fast for 12 hours before-hand and book an early appointment on the day.
We offer the full childhood vaccination service, further details of which are available on www.immunisation.ie.
Funding is provided by the HSE to ensure that all eligible babies can receive the scheduled childhood vaccines free of charge from their GP.
At birth, the hospital will ask you who your baby's GP is, or they may just assume that your own GP will be looking after your new baby too. The GP will then receive all the paperwork relating to the Childhood Vaccinations from the Immunisations Office.
The schedule of vaccinations changes from time to time and from 1 December 2016, the schedule for children born on or after 1 October 2016 will consist of 5 visits to the GP for the vaccinations in the schedule below.
The booklet 'Your child's immunisations - A guide to health' produced by the HSE can be downloaded from the immunisation.ie website.
Side Effects of Vaccination.
We understand that many parents may have concerns about possible side effects and will have questions about the vaccinations. We are happy to address any concerns at the time of vaccination and will do our very best to answer any queries you may have.
We strongly advise caution if searching the internet for advice on vaccinations as there is a huge amount of misinformation out there which will only serve to make your legitimate concerns more concerning. Immunisation.ie has a useful FAQ section here.
We know that vaccines do not cause autism, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, allergies, asthma, or attention deficit disorder.
However, when things happen to our children around the same time as they are immunised, we can wrongly presume that there is a link.
For example, the signs of autism usually become noticeable at about the age when children are given the MMR vaccine, but one does not cause the other. Because most children get immunised, those who have conditions such as autism, asthma or attention deficit disorder will have been immunised as well.
Studies to see if children who have been immunised are more likely to have these conditions have shown that there is no link between the conditions and vaccines.
Extensive research into the MMR vaccine, involving thousands of children, was carried out in the UK, the USA, Sweden, and Finland. This research showed that there is no link between MMR and autism. One study looked at every child born in Denmark from 1991 to 1998. During that time, 82% of children born in Denmark received the MMR vaccine. The researchers looked at the records of over half a million children and found the risk of autism was the same in immunised children as in children who had not been immunised. Experts from around the world, including the World Health Organization, agree that there is no link between MMR and autism.
We offer advice on a wide range of symptoms and illness specific to women. Whether your query relates to...
- Menstrual cycle
- PMT (premenstrual tension)
- Contraceptive choice
- Breast complaints
- Gynaecological problems
- Menopause and Postmenopausal problems
- Fertility concerns
- Sexual and psychosexual health issues
- STI screening (sexually transmitted infections)
- Mental health problems
or any other issues, we can offer advice, examinations, and further investigations if necessary.
In addition to regular GP services, we can provide relevant advice and screening for various conditions specific to men. These include
- Cancer (Prostate for men over 40, Testicular for men over 20)
- Hypertension (blood pressure checks)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Mental Health problems
- Sexual and Psychosexual problems
- STI screening
- Fertility issues
- We can also check your cardiac risk and arrange further investigations, if necessary, either in our surgery or by further referral.
Here at Galway Bay Medical Centre, we know that going to the doctor is only slightly less appealing than attending lectures but now that we are older and wiser, we also know that looking after your health as a student can only benefit every aspect of college life, especially the important bits like studying for exams and getting up early in the mornings. Honest. You will thank us when you are older.
With this in mind, we have extended our student discounts to cover sexual health screenings, general check-ups, contraceptive advice and much more. In fact, whatever you need, if you are a FULL-TIME student with a valid student card who is under 23, ask us and we will give you a reduction where we can. We will do our best to get you an appointment at a time that suits you and to keep your waiting time to a minimum.
The only downside is that if your mammy sees this page that will blow your chances of getting away with telling her that the doctor cost €50 or €60...
How you deal with that is one of the few things that we cannot help you with.
For everything else, give us a call.
Lyme disease is a bacterial illness that is transmitted by tick bites.
Tick bites are common, but Lyme disease only occurs if the tick is infected with the bacteria when it attaches to you.
Ticks are found all over Ireland, particularly in grassy or woodland areas, and most cases of Lyme disease occurs in the summer or autumn months.
What to do if you get a tick bite?
For the majority of people, a tick bite is not dangerous and will not cause any problems.
You should remove the tick as soon as you notice that it is attached to your skin. Most people can safely remove a tick themselves and the HSE website gives information on how to remove the tick. (Lyme disease - HSE.ie)
Alternatively, we can remove it for you.
Do I need treatment for Lyme disease if I am bitten by a tick?
- If the tick is removed within 36 hours, then the risk of contracting Lyme disease is so low, antibiotic treatment is not advised.
- If the tick is on longer than 36 hours, or you do not know how long it is attached, then please book an appointment with one of our doctors who can prescribe an antibiotic to reduce your risk of developing Lyme disease.
- If you have flu like symptoms, a rash or feel unwell, please book in urgently for assessment and you may be prescribed a longer course of antibiotics.
How soon should I see a doctor after a tick bite?
The antibiotics are most effective if started within 72 hours of the tick bite.
However, if you have flu like symptoms, a rash, or feel unwell, we can start them after this time.
Do I need a blood test to check for Lyme disease?
Even if you got Lyme disease from a tick bite, we cannot detect levels in your bloods until 4-6 weeks after the bite. If you were bitten over a month ago and are still concerned about Lyme disease, please book an appointment with our doctor who can advise if a blood test is appropriate.
Chronic Disease Management Program
The Chronic Disease Management program is a nationwide health promotion program from the HSE which aims to prevent and manage chronic disease through your local GP.
At Galway Bay Medical Centre, we provide this program and are encouraging our patients to register to be included. This is currently free of charge for patents who have a medical or GP visit card.
We are happy to offer a similar service to private patients but the cost of this will not be covered by the HSE.
Am I eligible?
If you have one of the conditions outlined below you are probably eligible for this program:
- Asthma or COPD
- Cardiovascular (heart) disease including atrial fibrillation, angina, stroke, and heart attack
- Type 2 Diabetes
How do I register for this program?
We invite patients who have a chronic disease to register with us and you may receive a call from us in relation to this. However, if you have not been contacted and would like to register, you are welcome to call or email us.
What happens after I register?
Once registered, you will be invited for an appointment with our nurse.
This assessment will involve taking a medical history, an examination and blood tests.
We can add on appropriate tests such as an ECG or a 24-Hour BP monitor if the GP thinks these are required.
Once your blood test results are back from the laboratory, we will invite you back for review by one of our GPs to discuss your results.
You will have an opportunity to ask question or talk to us about your medical concerns. We will then make a management plan to optimise your care.
There is no charge for this service unless you have additional issues or tests that are required.
If you are unable to attend in person, we also offer video appointments where possible.
You will be issued with a written care plan after the assessment.
We will also issue you with an updated prescription where appropriate.
You will be entitled to 2 assessments per year on this program.
Should I register for this program?
We encourage anyone with one of the chronic diseases mentioned above to participate.
This programme will give you the opportunity to discuss concerns, to monitor your underlying illness which can help prevent complications and because we regularly review your care plan and progress, we aim for early detection of any new conditions.
In the longer term, this will help you avoid being referred to the hospital which usually means long waiting times and may be far from home.
If you find this program does not suit you, you can opt out at any stage or discuss issues with our medical team.
What information do I need to provide?
At each review, the following information will be recorded:
- Name and age of patient
- Chronic disease diagnosis
- Medical history
- Your test results and your management plan
This information is then used by the HSE to improve services and programs.
All information is treated as confidential and processed strictly in accordance with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and Privacy legislation.
For further information on the Chronic Disease Program, you can click here:
What is Chickenpox?
Chickenpox is a common disease of childhood and is caused by exposure to the Varicella Zoster virus (VZV) which is transmitted by direct personal contact or by airborne means. Incubation period is usually 14 to 16 days but can range from 10 days to 21 days.
The illness itself is usually mild but it can be associated with more severe complications such as Shingles later in life as the VZ virus remains dormant in the body even after the chickenpox symptoms have passed.
How old does my child need to be?
We can vaccinate children aged 14 months or older.
The Chickenpox vaccine must be given at least a month after other vaccines so we recommend giving it a month after your baby has the 12-month and 13-month vaccines, i.e., at 14 months but can be given any time after this too.
How many shots do they need?
HSE recommendations are for 2 doses at least 1 month apart.
Is the Chickenpox vaccine included in the routine childhood vaccination schedule?
It is in the routine schedule in many countries but not in Ireland yet.
How much does it cost?
Check our Fees page for up-to-date pricing.
How do I make an appointment?
Give reception a call for an appointment with our nurse, subject to availability of the vaccine.
- To reduce the chance of you needing 2-3 weeks off work if their creche will not take the kids when they are infected.
- To reduce unnecessary suffering of the child. Complications can include pneumonia, secondary bacterial skin infections and viral meningitis and encephalitis. Fatality Rate: 1/100,000 in children and 25/100,000 in adults
- To reduce the chance of shingles in later life which has its own complications (e.g., post-herpetic neuralgia)
A vaccine is available and is licensed for use in Ireland in children over 1 year and adults. However, vaccination against VZV does not form part of the National Childhood Immunisation Programme.
Children can receive the vaccine from 12-14 months of age but not within one month of any other live vaccines (e.g., MMR, yellow fever).
For children aged from 1 year to less than 13 years, 2 Doses are recommended, 4 to 8 weeks apart
We recommend your child gets the regular12-month and 13-month childhood vaccines as per the Irish schedule, then have the Chickenpox vaccine at any time after 14 months.
Vaccine efficacy is estimated to be 70-90% against infection, and 90-100% against moderate or severe disease.
Vaccine efficacy is lower (~75%) in those aged >13 years.
Immunity in most appears to be long lasting, probably lifelong.
Approximately 1% of vaccinees per year have developed mild breakthrough infections.
Common: Mild injection site soreness.
Uncommon: Fever and varicella rash (approx. 5 lesions), allergy
Whooping Cough (Pertussis) Vaccine
Whooping cough, also known as Pertussis, is a very contagious disease which is very easily spread by personal contact.
It is caused by a bacteria known as Bordetella Pertussis which live in the mouth, nose, and throat.
The disease causes long bouts of coughing and choking making it hard to breathe. The child may turn blue from lack of air, or vomit after a coughing spell. Between these coughing spells a child gasps for air causing the characteristic 'whoop' sound. Not all children get the 'whoop'.
A child with whooping cough can have difficulty eating, drinking, or even breathing. The disease can last up to three months.
Whooping cough is most serious in babies under 12 months of age, often requiring admission to hospital and may be fatal.
HSE.ie Whooping Cough information
Younger children usually encounter these bacteria in the home through older children and adults.
The pertussis vaccine is given to children as part of the 6 in 1 vaccine at 2, 4 and 6 months of age with a booster vaccine given at 4-5 years of age as part of the 4 in 1 vaccine and again between 11-14 years of age (Tdap vaccine).
The latest advice from The National Immunisation Office to GPs recommends vaccination for the following cohorts:
- Pregnant women between 16-36 weeks' gestation IN EACH PREGNANCY.
- Unvaccinated women in the week after delivery.
- Close family contacts of infants born before 32 weeks' gestation as they may not have received protection via maternal immunisation. Close family should be vaccinated 2 weeks before any close contact with the new-born and should include siblings in the household and unvaccinated adults.
This vaccination is not covered by the Medical Card or Doctor Visit Card. Further information is available here...
Meningitis B Vaccination
Meningitis B vaccinations will be included in the Primary Childhood Immunisation Schedule (PCIS) for all children born on or after 1 October 2016. However, the HSE have confirmed that there will be no catch-up programme.
Children born before 1 October 2016 will have to be vaccinated outside the PCIS system, which means opting to pay privately for this service from your GP.
Galway Bay Medical Centre are offering a private vaccination service to cover this cohort of children.
The minimum age for vaccination is 2 months.
If you are interested in having your children vaccinated, please give us a call and we can address any queries you may have.
Why do we need a Meningitis B vaccine?
For decades, Meningitis B has been the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in the UK and Ireland. Vaccines are the only way to prevent meningitis and have almost eliminated some other kinds of meningitis.
Since the first meningitis vaccine was introduced against Hib meningitis in 1992, many kinds of meningitis have been reduced or have dwindled to a mere handful of cases, including Hib, Meningitis C and Pneumococcal.
Thanks to meningitis vaccines, thousands of children are alive today who would otherwise have died from these deadly diseases.
Developing a Meningitis B vaccine has been much more difficult – until now, protection against Meningitis B has been a distant possibility.
Meanwhile, meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia remain the leading infectious cause of death for children under five in the UK.
How effective is this vaccine?
The effectiveness of a vaccine is determined by many things, including how strong an immune response it produces (its ‘immunogenicity’), and how widely it covers disease-causing strains circulating in the country.
Results from the vaccine trials are very encouraging, showing that the vaccine triggers a strong immune response in infants, toddlers, and adolescents.
Studies of circulating Meningitis B strains looking at how well they match the vaccine have predicted that it will cover approximately 88% of Meningitis B circulating in the UK, and 78% of Meningitis B in Europe overall.
The actual proportion of cases prevented will depend on other things too, including how widely the vaccine is offered and taken up, whether it prevents the bacteria from being carried and passed on as well as protecting from disease, how long protection lasts, and whether it works sufficiently well in all age groups. -
(Courtesy of Meningitis.org)
How much does the vaccine cost?
Check our Fees page for up-to-date pricing.
More Information and Useful Links
Meningitis Research Foundation
Health Protection Surveillance Centre
RTE News - March 2015 - Department of Health considers introduction of Men B vaccination
Shingles is an infection of a nerve and the area of skin around it. It is caused by the herpes varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox.
Most people have chickenpox in childhood, but after the illness has gone, the virus remains dormant in the nervous system. The immune system keeps the virus under control, but later in life it can be reactivated and cause shingles.
Shingles usually affects a specific area on either the left or right side of the body. The main symptoms are pain and a rash, which develops into itchy blisters and then scabs over.
How common is shingles?
It is estimated that about 3 people in every 1,000 have shingles in the UK every year. The figure for Ireland is likely to be similar. Shingles can occur at any age but is most common in people who are over 50 years of age. Among people who are over 80 years of age, about 11 people in every 1,000 have shingles each year.
It is much less common in children.
In most cases, the painful rash of shingles lasts 7 to 10 days and takes 2 to 4 weeks to fully heal. Several different medicines can be used to treat the pain.
Complications can occur after you have had shingles, such as postherpetic neuralgia. This is where severe nerve pain lasts for more than three months after the rash has gone.
It is estimated that postherpetic neuralgia affects at least 1 in 10 people with shingles and is more common in older people. It affects around one-third of people who are over 80 and who have shingles.
Can shingles be prevented?
In recent years, 2 different vaccines to prevent shingles have been licensed in Europe and are available in Ireland. These vaccines are not part of the routine immunisation schedule.
Vaccination against singles is not 100% effective.
However, it does reduce your risk of developing this condition and can reduce the severity and duration of symptoms if you do develop it.
People who are vaccinated are less likely to develop side effects from shingles such as post herpetic neuralgia.
Which vaccines are available in Ireland?
The two shingles vaccines currently available are:
Shingrix - This is a recombinant vaccine that is given as two doses, 2 months apart. It is indicated for people >50 years, or over 18 years with underlying medical issues putting them at increased risk of shingles.
- Efficacy - 97.2% > 50 years old, 91.3% > 70 years old
Zostavax - This is a live vaccine. It is given as a single dose. It is indicated for people over 50 years old.
- Efficacy - 70% > 50 years old, 41% > 70 years old
We can now offer either of these vaccines here at GBMC. We do not routinely carry the vaccines in our fridge so the vaccine would need to be ordered in advance and takes approximately 2 days to be delivered
Please see our Fees page for costs and enquire at reception if you would like this vaccine.
We require a deposit of 50% in advance for each vaccine that we order.
H. Pylori Breath Test
Infection with Helicobacter Pylori is one of the world's most common human bacterial infections and can be a factor in a wide range of stomach problems including gastritis and others.
We can now arrange in-house testing for H. Pylori if this is suspected by the GP by doing a Urea Breath Test.
This is a quite simple non-invasive procedure that involves blowing into a bag. The test is sent to our laboratory partner, and we have results back in 5 to 7 days.
If you are attending for this test or think you would like to have the test you must meet the following criteria.
- Patient must have fasted for 6 hours prior to the test
- Patient must not have taken any antibiotic for at least 4 weeks prior to the test.
- Patient must not have taken any PPI (proton pump inhibitor) What is This? tablets for at least 14 days.
- Patient must not have taken any peptic ulcer treatments (H2 Antagonists) What is This? for at least 4 days prior to the test.
HPV Vaccination, Testing and Cervical Cancer
What is HPV?
Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the name for a group of viruses that affect your skin and the moist membranes lining your body, for example, in your cervix, anus, mouth and throat.
HPV is a common and highly contagious infection, with over three quarters of sexually active women acquiring it at some time in their lives.
There are more than 100 types of HPV. Around 40 types of HPV infection can affect the genital area.
What can HPV infection do?
Infection with some types of HPV can cause abnormal tissue growth and other changes to cells within your cervix, which can lead to cervical cancer or genital warts which is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the UK & Ireland
Other types of HPV infection can cause minor problems, such as common skin warts and verrucae.
Cervical cancer does not affect boys and men because they do not have a cervix but other cancers that can affect men – such as cancer of the anus, penis, head, and neck – are also linked to infection with HPV types 16 and 18.
See here for more details.
Females aged 9-26 can avail of a course of vaccinations to protect them against Human Papilloma Virus, the virus responsible for over two-thirds of cases of cervical cancer in women and most genital wart infections in both sexes.
The national Cervical Cancer Vaccination programme is administered by Point of Care, and you can find full details on their website here
This programme will be extended to cover boys from the start of the 2019 school year.
Our female patients can have this testing in our medical centre. HPV testing is now included in the normal cervical smear test and is done at the same time as your smear test.
If you are not eligible to have a free smear under the Cervical Check programme you can opt to have a smear test done privately.
The cost of these tests is not covered by the Medical Card.
Unfortunately, for our male patients who may have concerns, it's not so straightforward as there is no routine test for HPV in men.
Our advice would be to book in for a routine consult with your doctor to discuss your concerns or symptoms as it may be possible to avail of specialist testing in individual cases.
Paternity (DNA) Testing
In conjunction with Ireland's leading DNA testing Service - Ormonde Quay Paternity Services - We have been carrying out DNA testing since 2014.
DNA testing can be used to establish familial relationships by comparing DNA samples from each party to establish the likelihood of a particular relationship between the parties.
The most common testing carried out is Paternity where proof of a child/father relationship is required.
It is also possible to investigate relationships involving grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles etc. depending on the availability of suitable DNA samples.
The accuracy level of these tests is more than 99.999%.
DNA testing can be quite complex so please contact us if you have any queries about what is possible, and we will be able to help.
We can offer 2 types of paternity testing and would encourage you to be sure which type you require before booking.
Peace of Mind test:
A Peace of Mind DNA test is recommended for clients who simply want to prove that a relationship exists between 2 or more parties. The results of this test are not admissible as evidence in court.
Legal (Court-Admissible) DNA test
A Legal DNA Test is used for clients who require a DNA test to prove a relationship in court such as in a custody case or for inheritance matters. Your solicitor will be ordering the test in these cases.
Phone reception and ask to book an appointment for DNA Testing.
We will not be able to accommodate a request for testing at short notice as we must prioritise the regular healthcare appointments of our patients.
If you can only attend on a particular day or time OR require split appointments for multiple parties to attend, you will need to give us AT LEAST 2 weeks' notice.
We require 50% deposit on booking the appointment.
If you do not attend for your appointment this deposit is Non-Refundable.......
However, we understand that it can be tricky to organise these appointments if multiple parties are involved especially if relationships are strained between parties so give us enough notice of cancellations or changes to appointments, and we will work with you.
Please let us know that you are booking for Paternity Testing as we will need to book you in for an extended consultation.
Please advise us of the number of people to be tested. i.e., 2 adults & 1 child etc.
We will require photographic identification for all parties testing. (Passport or Driving Licence).
If a child to be tested does not hold a passport we require a copy of their full birth certificate.
We cannot carry out the test without the proper ID.
We can obtain the test kit for you, or you can order your kit directly from Ormonde Quay Paternity Services. The cost is the same either way.
We return the test kit to OQPS for you.