SINN FÉIN members in Cork have sought assurances from the HSE that a GP service in Blarney will be retained.
Their comments come in response to news that a local GP service, Ashdale Centre, is to lose its only doctor at the end of December.
In correspondence seen by The Echo Cork Kerry Community Healthcare (CKCH) said it is currently undertaking the appropriate steps in terms of “both contracting a permanent replacement and ensuring continuity of service in the interim for this GMS [General Medical Services] panel”.
“The HSE will communicate with GMS cardholders as soon as arrangements are finalised for the Interim GP Service which will commence on 1st January 2023 and will run during the timeframe taken to contract a permanent GP.
“Thereafter, as soon as a GP is contracted, further communication will issue to advise of the permanent arrangements”.
Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central, Thomas Gould said that he has written to the HSE requesting a firm commitment that an interim doctor will be in place for the entire length of the recruitment process for a new doctor, “regardless of the length of time” it takes.
Mr Gould said he has also been in contact with the existing GP at the centre who he said has done “trojan work in the community”.
Sinn Féin councillor in the city’s North West ward, Mick Nugent also stated the need for the local service to be retained.
“We are being contacted by really concerned patients. Older people, in particular, rely heavily on a local medical service.
“We will be working with the outgoing doctor, who has done outstanding work, and the HSE to try to find a solution and keep this service in Blarney.”
His party colleague, councillor Kenneth Collins said he believes healthcare service in Blarney are “already at a disadvantage due to the lack of a primary care centre” and that the local community “cannot see any reductions” of GP services.