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O’Reilly raises ShannonDoc debacle with Minister McGrath in the Dáil

7 December, 2016 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has raised the issue of ShannonDoc and the provision of out of hours services with Minister of State Finian McGrath in the Dáil. Deputy O’Reilly has been working closely with Noeleen Moran on this and, further to a number of public meetings locally, the Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson questioned the Minister on actions being taken by him and his Department, and called on him to meet these communities, as part of the HSE consultation process on the new GP contract.

Deputy O’Reilly said:

“The people of Clare have been very active recently in holding public meetings on this issue and I believe that the problems they are experiencing are eye opening and bear an important lesson in the provision of primary care services nationally. I think it would be important for you and your officials to engage directly with them, and ShannonDoc, to navigate a mutually beneficial response to the situation in which they find themselves.

“Communities in Clare are rightly concerned and they are looking to you Minister, and to the HSE, to ensure that GPs meet their obligations to their patients. Indeed, they are looking to you to resolve issues around out of hours cover and to expedite the GP contract negotiations which would attract GPs to work in rural Ireland.

“This is not a funding issue Minister. ShannonDoc funds have not been cut despite the service to the public being reduced.   But out of hours rostering and the availability of GPs in these hours is of issue. The fact is Minister that when people cannot access these services out of hours, they are more likely to head directly for the hospitals.  

“When it comes to out of hours services, it is necessary to have the service for when it is needed. ShannonDoc provides a really vital urgent out of hours GP service that the people of Clare cannot be without.  This scaling back of the ShannonDoc service will only result in more people joining the queue's in the already overstretched A&Es.

“Ennis Hospital was downgraded and its A&E runs only a 12 hour service.  Galway University Hospital operated the full capacity protocol 181 times up to November and Limerick was 283. These are the hospitals that these cuts are pushing people to. This isn’t developing primary care. It is burdening the acute system.

“The Minister must intervene and engage with ShannonDoc to find a resolution to this issue as a matter of urgency. I would ask you and your team Minister to meet these communities, as part of the HSE consultation process on the new GP contract as it is the best example of how communities are being affected by cutbacks to services and the need for state intervention in some form through the contract negotiations.” 

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