Building a Better Health Service

Your Health

Irish experience life changing for Ukrainian GP

 Dr Regina Morais


Life-changing is how Ukrainian national Dr Regina Morais describes the welcome and support she has received since her arrival in Ireland in March last year. 

Now working as a medical translator with Edoc (Out of Hours Urgent GP Service in the east around Dublin and surrounding areas), Dr Morais explains how her work contributes to a better experience for both patient and doctor: 

“I am a General Practitioner specialising in General Surgery in Ukraine.  I have been working here in Ireland since March of last year – mainly with the Ukrainian population, a lot of whom of course, don’t speak English. It can be very hard for the medical practitioners to be able to obtain the right kind of information from them. "

“And that’s where I come in - because I have a medical background,  I am able to not just translate what the patients are saying but can also interpret and explain the nuances and the differences between the medical systems in both countries.  This makes it easier for the doctor to be able to understand where the patient is coming from.  It’s a lot about empathy and trying to cater for what the patient is looking for.

“A lot of the medications and lot of how we do things really is different and so for the doctor to be able to not just make a proper diagnosis, but also to make the patient happy, its best to understand those differences”

Positive experience of arriving in Ireland

Explaining how her initial arrival in Dublin Airport was a positive experience Dr Morais outlines how the Immigration Officer she met asked her if she knew where she was going and if she knew anyone in Ireland.  She didn’t: “I told her no, I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t know where I was going. I came because I wanted to finish medical training.  She looked at me and she said don’t worry, were going to take care of you.  

“And so for me to hear that, and see her smile, honestly the load that was I was carrying just fell off me. I completely relaxed and I was just knew I was going to be ok.”

Expressing her gratitude, Dr Morais stresses that “we are just really grateful, we truly are for the work that everyone is doing to accommodate it us.  It really means a lot – it's life-changing.”

Edoc Emergency GP service for Ukrainian Nationals 

Under a Service Level Agreement, Edoc are providing an emergency GP service for Ukrainian Nationals in Community Healthcare East. This service is available to all Ukrainian nationals under Temporary Protection who are residing in Community Healthcare East while they are waiting on a medical card assigning them to a GP in the area. There are currently over 1500 Ukrainian nationals in temporary accommodation in this area. The number of individuals in privately organised accommodation is unknown but they are availing of this service if required.

In order to maximise the use of resources while appropriate teams are being appointed, the Ukrainian emergency GP service is currently situated in the new Integrated Care Hub, Bray. The service is available Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm by appointment and is staffed by a receptionist, a Clinical Nurse Manager and a GP.

Referral process and appointment booking system

Edoc have liaised with all of the accommodation centres in the area with regard to creating a referral process and booking system for appointment. This service is also supported by the General Manager for Social Inclusion and the Social Inclusion team. Regular liaison with the Edoc management team has ensured the service is being provided in an effective way and is adapting on a regular basis to meet the changing needs of the Ukrainian nationals. All Ukrainian nationals seen by the GP service are then followed up by the Primary Care Social Inclusion team where referrals to a wide range of primary care services are made as required.  This ensures that where needed, they have equal access to Primary Care services in the area.   

This bespoke service has ensured that all Ukrainian nationals in need of emergency GP care are seen in a timely manner and treated in an appropriate clinical setting. The service is supplemented by  GP Out of Hours Service providers, Edoc in South Dublin and North Wicklow and Caredoc in South Wicklow.