The retirement of a Kildare Town GP has further increased pressure on GP services in the area, TD Fiona O'Loughlin has claimed.
The Fianna Fail politician is concerned about constituents and stated that patients of a now retired GP have to travel to Monasterevin until a new GP is found.
She said: "These constituents who are in their 70’s, have been unable to enrol with another GP in the area due to full surgery lists in those practices.
"I have also been informed of long waiting times to access appointments so clearly there is a capacity issue for GP practices in Kildare Town and Monasterevin.”
“Another constituent called worried about her father’s health and said that the GP practice in Monasterevin had not answered their phones in two days. Monasterevin has its own patients to cover and the intake from Kildare Town is putting sever pressure on all involved”, O’Loughlin said.
Deputy O’Loughlin had previously raised the issue of GP numbers in relation to parents of children under 6 years who were having difficulty enrolling their children into a GP practice.
Kildare is in the lowest 20% nationally for the number of GP’s per head of population and the retirement of a Kildare Town GP has exacerbated the situation there.
An estimated 15% of GP’s in Kildare are set to retire in the next 10 years and succession planning cannot take place due to the fact that there is no established feeder scheme into the county.
The TD added: “I have made enquiries with the HSE regarding the provision of a new GP in Kildare Town to which they outlined that if no GP is found for the job, it may be necessary to have services provided by temporary GP's in the area on a permanent basis however, Kildare Towns current GPs are already at full capacity.
"The HSE have given no indication of the length of time it could take to find a replacement and this is unsatisfactory”.
O Loughlin concluded, “I am conscious that elderly and unwell constituents may not be in a position to travel to Monasterevin for medical appointments and the HSE need to put plans in place in order to ensure that the future manpower needs of general practice can be met.”
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