Nine out of ten GPs in Northern Ireland are concerned that increased workloads this winter will affect their ability to care for patients.
Practices will be under “intense strain” over the coming months, the Royal College of GPs warned, as it published a members’ survey.
Health officials have also warned that hospitals are likely to see greater pressure during this winter because of conditions like flu.
RCGPNI chairman, Dr Grainne Doran, said: “GPs strive to provide the very best care to all of our patients.
“Over the winter period, there is no doubt that our workload hugely increases.”
The baby-boomer generation is approaching retirement and with it demographic predictions predict a sharp rise in demand for healthcare.
The Department of Health has ordered a review and GPs urged people to think carefully about the support and treatment they might require from the health service during this busy period.
Dr Doran added: “For more minor conditions such as coughs and colds, patients can get great advice and over-the-counter medicines from local pharmacies.
“This will be faster and more efficient and will help ensure appointments with a doctor are available for those who need them most.
“But it is important to remember that if you think you need medical attention, or if symptoms don’t improve, do not hesitate to seek medical advice.”