Blarney without GP services since closure

Cork North Central TD Thomas Gould condemned the HSE’s delay in advertising the position once it knew the post would become vacant.
Blarney without GP services since closure

“I know that, particularly for vulnerable patients, this change is deeply concerning,” Deputy Gould said.

THE community of Blarney is “disappointed and frustrated” about the closure of GP services in the village without any replacement to date, a Cork TD has said.

Cork North Central TD Thomas Gould condemned the HSE’s delay in advertising the position once it knew the post would become vacant.

“I know that, particularly for vulnerable patients, this change is deeply concerning,” Deputy Gould said.

“I have also been speaking to parents, whose children are entitled to GP Visit Cards, who now have a different GP, as private patients, to their children. This is completely ridiculous and just adds barriers to accessing healthcare.

“People are being told to avoid Emergency Departments but now they are being asked to travel, with no public transport access, to a GP that I am sure was already busy before the influx of new patients.” 

Dr John Sheehan of Blackpool Bridge Surgery said incentives must be put in place to attract more GPs to rural locations, in particular.

He said initiatives such as the ICGP’s rural GP fellowship which would see GPs from non-EU countries partnering with a rural GP and settling in Ireland, and the HSE South’s funding of rural GP fellowships in conjunction with UCC whereby someone would have an academic post two days a week and be placed in a rural practice two days a week, have been put in place as temporary solutions to take some pressure off rural GPs.

“We also have to look at the contract. The contract is over 50 years old and really is not fit for purpose. It’s like building a house and adding about 10 different extensions onto it and at some stage it becomes unmanageable.

“For instance, if I was to take over a practice in a rural area, all I would get is a sheet of paper with the names of the patients on it and that’s it. I have to sort out premises myself, staff, all of that and really if we want to attract GPs into rural areas or underserved areas, we need to put some structures in place, so it’s not necessarily about money, it’s about putting structures in place, like can the GP be linked with a bigger practice, can they get holiday leave, can they get any locum cover.

“Putting some of those supports and structures really would make a difference. None of them are easy, there’s no one magic one that will do it all, and jumping up and down and saying it must be done really won’t help an awful lot with this situation. This is going to be an ongoing issue over the next sort of 10 years,” he said.

Deputy Gould said he has written to the HSE seeking an update and a timeline for the appointment of a new doctor to the position.

Cork Kerry Community Healthcare (CKCH) has been contacted by The Echo for comment.

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