Brendan Smith urges immediate intervention to maintain crucial local doctor on call service levels

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith has urged the HSE and Minister for Health to intervene to ensure the continuance of existing service levels for the North East Doctor On Call (NEDOC), following a recent proposal of reduced cover.

Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “I urge the HSE and Minister for Health to intervene and ensure that current cover and service levels for NEDOC are maintained. This medical service provides vital healthcare for so many in the North East. I ask them to give urgent consideration to the concerns outlined by the organisation in relation to the delivery of healthcare.

“According to a proposal from the co-operative, from Tuesday 4th August the NEDOC service will implement a reconfigured service providing urgent GP Out of Hours care to patients on a face-to-face basis until 10.30pm weekday evenings and 10pm at weekends, and thereafter patients will have access to GP telephone advice only.”

The Cavan and Monaghan TD added: “The necessary financial resources are needed without delay to maintain existing service levels.”

In response, Minister Donnelly stated: “The HSE have sought an urgent meeting with the cooperative’s board to discuss the proposed reduction in services. 

“GPs contracted under the General Medical Services Scheme are required by their contract to make suitable arrangements to enable contact to be made with them, or a locum or deputy, for emergencies outside of normal practice hours. While there is no obligation on GPs to participate in GP out of hours co-operatives as a means of meeting the contractual requirement, most GPs do so as such services facilitate the provision of GP services outside of normal surgery hours and help to spread the burden of this provision.

“The GP out of hours cooperative concerned has informed the HSE of its intention to reconfigure its GP out-of-hours service from August, with no availability of late night in-person GP consultations. The HSE has also been informed of the cooperative’s concerns regarding the delivery of healthcare in the area.”