The Templemore GP crisis was brought up in the Dáil last night by Fianna Fáil T.D. for Tipperary, Jackie Cahill. In choosing this issue as his first item to address this Dáil term, Deputy Cahill raised the concerns of the people of Templemore in relation to the closure of Dr. Joe Hennessy’s practice following his retirement. Cahill requested that the minister intervene to provide a six-month extension to operations so that a suitable full-time replacement can be sourced.
Speaking in the Dáil last night, Deputy Cahill told Minister Mary Butler: “The people of Templemore are extremely worried about Dr. Hennessy’s GP practice position not being filled by the HSE. Dr. Hennessy had a significant practice over a long number of years and served the locality very, very well.
Cahill continued to state that “the HSE has failed, and I would say not tried hard enough to find a full-time replacement. The request I am making tonight to the minister is that the HSE give an extension of six months to the practice in the town so as to allow ample time to find a replacement. This is to allow both public and private patients to remain in the practice.
“If the public patients are taken on by the other practice in the town, that practice will be overrun by patients. We have seen mergers of practices in other areas in our county where the level of service for the patients is just not up to the standard required.
Cahill responded to Minister Butler by thanking her for her comprehensive answer but stated he was not over-happy with it. He said the reply he received from the HSE on this matter stated that Templemore is a rural setting and they are finding it difficult to get a replacement. On this, Cahill said: “This is a town that is on the Dublin-Cork rail line and is only 5 or 6 miles from the Dublin-Limerick motorway. It has a great educational infrastructure and would be an attractive place for any young GP to begin a practice.
Cahill concluded by saying this exact scenario is being replicated all across rural Ireland and the HSE is failing to fill places in practices. He said that reimbursement for GPs has to be looked at to incentivise them to take on these practices. The Thurles man concluded by again calling for a six-month extension for the practice, which the people of Templemore have requested.
In response, Minister Butler committed to Deputy Cahill that she would take on board Deputy Cahill’s six-month extension request and would engage with Minister Donnelly in relation to it.