Fianna Fáil TD Pádraig O’Sullivan.

Blarney to get interim GP

While medical card holders in Blarney will not be left without a GP in the new year, close to 1,000 private patients may have to go further afield.

During a session in Dáil Eireann yesterday, Wednesday, Cork Fianna Fáil TD Pádraig O'Sullivan sought reassurance from the Government that the HSE’s promise of an interim GP for Blarney was in fact true.

His questions in the Dáil followed recent news that the only GP operating in Blarney is to resign from their position at the Ashdale Centre as of 31 December. Addressing Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Frank Feighan TD, Deputy O'Sullivan said the news had sent a “shock through the community” and asked the minister for reassurance that an interim arrangement has been made.

“The real reason I’m here this morning is there’s a lot of elderly people in particular who are fairly distressed and fearful of losing their service,” said the deputy.

He said the GP’s resignation will affect 600 medical card holders and 1,000 private patients. He said he had been assured by the HSE that the medical card holders will be looked after by an interim service within 8km of Blarney until a replacement GP is recruited.Deputy O’Sullivan said: “It’s unfortunate that private patients are in a situation of having no GP over the Christmas period but I do understand that a number of local GPs are taking them on as well.”

Responding, Minister Feighan assured him that measures had already been taken to make sure an interim GP is in place from 1 January and said it is important to get the right message to those who are concerned.

The minister said: “Once interim arrangements are finalised, the HSE will contact card holders and inform them of the particulars of this arrangement and the HSE will contact cardholders again when a replacement GP is in place.

“We really need to take steps to reassure people and sometimes the wrong message can go out and it can be difficult to get the right message out.”

Deputy O’Sullivan then thanked the minister and confirmed that he was aware of one GP who had already expressed interest in taking up the service in Blarney.

He said he had also written to all GPs within a 10km radius of Blarney encouraging them to do all they can to help in the interim, in particular to look after the 1,000 private patients that will not have the service.

“I would encourage anybody that is concerned to get in touch with either myself or other GPs in the vicinity,” concluded the deputy.

In a recent statement, the HSE said Cork Kerry Community Healthcare is presently undertaking the appropriate steps in terms of both contracting a permanent replacement and ensuring continuity of service in the interim for the Blarney service.

“The HSE will communicate with GMS cardholders as soon as arrangements are finalised for the Interim GP Service which will commence on 1 January 2023,” the statement read.