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GP out-of-hours service to be cut in North East – Ó Caoláin

11 February, 2011 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has revealed that NE Doc - the General Practitioner out-of-hours service in the North East region – is to be drastically cut back. He has learned from reliable sources that the cuts affecting Counties Cavan, Monaghan, Louth & Meath will come into effect on 1 March - four days after the General Election.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:

“NE Doc provides vital out-of-hours GP cover for four Counties. It is already a limited service and it is appalling that such drastic cuts would even be contemplated. Yet such cuts are now imminent and I have learned the details from reliable sources.

“The service is currently delivered from four centres – Castleblayney, Cavan, Drogheda and Navan. Cuts are planned for all four centres.

“In Castleblayney the current service of two doctors on duty - one in clinic and one on the road - between 6pm and 12 midnight will be reduced to one doctor on duty up to 11pm. The doctor currently on duty between 12 midnight and 8am will be removed.

“In Cavan the current service of two doctors between 6pm and midnight will be reduced to one. There will continue to be a doctor between midnight and 8am but this doctor will now have to cover all of Counties Cavan AND Monaghan.

“In Drogheda the current three doctors on duty from 6pm to midnight will be reduced to two. There will continue to be one doctor from 12 midnight to 8am. Exactly the same applies in Navan.

“I am reliably informed that the numbers of nurses and drivers currently working in the service are also to be reduced.

“This is yet another attack on the healthcare services of the people of the North East HSE region. When emergency departments were removed from Monaghan, Navan and Dundalk hospitals we were repeatedly told that the development of primary care and emergency services overall in the region would compensate. Instead we are being driven backwards.

“Can anyone dare to argue that one doctor covering two counties between the hours of midnight and 8am constitutes a GP service?

“I am calling on the Tánaiste and Minister for Health & Children Mary Coughlan to intervene immediately and to prevent the imposition of these cuts.” ENDS

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