Retired consultant Garrett 'felt a desire to help' in Covid pandemic

Darren Beattie


Darren Beattie


When the coronavirus outbreak occurred in Northern Ireland, retired consultant Peter Garrett felt a desire to help.

He had been retired from full-time NHS work for eight years but had worked in renal and general medicine in the Republic of Ireland, England and Belfast intermittently since.

For the last three years, he had been working with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Border, helping to provide health care for refugees in the Middle East, but his post in Lebanon finished earlier this year.

Asked why he decided to go back into patient care in Northern Ireland, Dr Garrett said: "It was actually a desire to help. My post in the Lebanon finished in February, and I felt frustrated sitting at home in the context of the covid crisis.

"At about the same time, I collected a telephone call from the Dialysis Unit to see if I would be available. It required renewal of my Licence to Practice by the General Medical Council, who processed the paperwork very quickly."

Dr Garrett is currently working as a consultant nephrologist in the Renal Unit at the Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex.

"My role is primarily to free up permanent consultant staff to deal with acute problems in Altnagelvin by managing the maintenance dialysis unit in Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex, including management of covid-positive dialysis patients who are not ill enough to require inpatient admission."

Readjusting to clinical work in the Dialysis Unit has been surprisingly easy, he said.

"I already know most of the staff and indeed many of the patients! Seeing so many familiar faces among the patients reflects the high quality of care they have been receiving from the wonderful staff in the unit."

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