A Cork TD has welcomed the news that the HSE has been contacted by several people interested in taking over the GP practice in Blarney, with interview dates to be decided following the closing of the campaign.
Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould said he is “really hopeful” that a replacement would be in place in Blarney before the summer months following confirmation that multiple enquiries have been received to date by the HSE, informally, in respect of the position.
The recruitment campaign for the vacant GMS GP position will close at midday on February 1.
In correspondence with Deputy Gould, Head of Service of Primary Care at Cork Kerry Community Healthcare (CKCH) Priscilla Lynch said once the campaign closes, a shortlisting of the applications received will be undertaken without delay.
“This generally occurs a number of working days after the closing of the campaign. Once the number of eligible candidates is known, the interview dates can be arranged and eligible candidates will be invited to attend.
“This is anticipated to take place between two and four weeks after the shortlisting exercise. Once the interviews have been completed, the results will issue promptly thereafter.
“The vacant post will be offered out for acceptance and a series of HR checks will then commence. Upon completion of the HR checks, the contracting under the GMS will commence.
This process is dependent on the submission of a series of documents by the successful candidate in addition to Police Clearance, Garda Vetting and Occupational Health checks if appropriate. Agreement on a start date is negotiated at this time also.
Ms Lynch said it is difficult to be specific on a timeframe from now to commencement, but that the steps to be undertaken within the process will be undertaken where possible without delay.
Deputy Gould questioned, however, what took the HSE so long to advertise the post.
“It was almost two months before the post was advertised. A quicker, more proactive reaction could have avoided people from Blarney being forced to travel to Ballincollig in the middle of flu season.
“The HSE still has questions to answer about why this process took so long to get started. What were they doing for those two months? The post was only advertised after myself and the local community started to put pressure on the HSE. Without this pressure, would the GP service have just been allowed to close?
“However, I would hope that today’s news will give people some comfort that there are GPs interested and that hopefully this situation will be resolved in the coming weeks.”