After raising the Templemore GP vacancy with Minister Mary Butler in the Dáil last night (Wednesday), Tipperary Sinn Féin TD Martin Browne has said that the Minister seems to be adopting the same hands-off approach to Templemore as she has towards other communities.
Teachta Browne said:
“Faced with questions on the need to fill the vacant GP position in Templemore, Minister Butler, unfortunately, kept scripting similar to previous correspondence from the HSE, saying that the HSE has not been successful in recruiting a GP to the single-handed GP Practice in Templemore.
“The only positive response from the minister was that she would consult with Minister Stephen Donnelly on the demand locally that the closure of the practice is deferred for six months to allow a replacement doctor to be the source.
“However, for the rest of her reply, Minister Butler seemed to be unmoving from the Department’s previous responses to questions relaying the concerns of the local community.
“I also pointed out that difficulties in replacing GPs or securing adequate access are something that is being experienced frequently across the country, and indeed across Co Tipperary.
“I gave examples of scenarios being experienced in Cahir and Thurles.
“I also impressed upon the Minister that Co Tipperary is sick and tired of seeing services downgraded, and of experiencing the removal of health services from their communities.
“I gave St Brigid’s in Carrick-on-Suir as an example, while the people of Roscrea also made their particular concerns known to the Minister recently.
“I also referred to a correspondence from the HSE which stated that “working in a supported group practice environment with multiple GP’s is a more attractive option for GP’s and maybe the future of retention of GPs in rural practice”. To me, this indicates the approach to the matter the HSE is adopting.
“Communities across the country are sick and tired of the whittling away of their services under this government. I made the Minister aware of that, and called on her and the Department of Health to do the right thing for the people of Tipperary, and rethink their policy of isolating our communities from the services they need.
“I hope that the Ministers take the suggestion of the community of Templemore onboard, and do all they can to defer the closure of the practice for six months and use that time to secure a GP.”