Locals are concerned that Blarney could be left without a GP in the New Year. Photo: Christopher Boswell

Replacement needed for Blarney’s only GP

Public representatives in Cork are calling on the HSE for assurance that Blarney will not lose its only doctor next month.

Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould and Cllrs Mick Nugent and Kenneth Collins were responding to news that local GP service Ashdale Centre is to lose its only doctor on 31 December. Deputy Gould confirmed he has since written to the HSE requesting a firm commitment that an interim doctor will be in place for the entire length of the recruitment process for a new doctor, regardless of the length of time.

His letter was in response to an answer he had previously received from the HSE confirming that the recruitment process is ongoing and that an interim will be appointed in the meantime.

Deputy Gould has also been in contact with the existing doctor at Ashdale Centre who he said has done “Trojan” work in the community.

Deputy Gould said: “A replacement must be found, the responsibility for that lies with the HSE. Existing staff must also be retained.

“The people of Blarney rely on GP services. We cannot see the remaining GP surgery overwhelmed nor people forced to travel outside the village for basic medical treatment.

“Given the pressure on GP services at the minute, we should be seeing the HSE seeking to open new surgeries. What we definitely can’t see is them allowing any to close.”

Cllr Mick Nugent added: “We are being contacted by really concerned patients. Older people in particular rely heavily on a local medical service. We will be working with the outgoing doctor has and the HSE to try to find a solution and keep this service in Blarney.”

According to Cllr Kenneth Collins, healthcare services in Blarney are already at a disadvantage due to the lack of a primary care centre.

He said: “An application has been submitted for this but is held up in planning proceedings brought by a third party. At a time when there is a recognised need for more primary care services in Blarney, we cannot see any reductions.”

The HSE was contacted for comment but none was received by the time of going to print.