Dungannon urgently needs a medical base

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

DUNGANNON'S current GP provision has been branded a 'disgrace' by a local councillor.

Speaking after a meeting between councillors and the Health and Social Care Board to discuss the closure of Dr Murty's practice on Cunningham's Lane, UUP Councillor Walter Cuddy has hit out at the lack of investment in GP services in the town.

“The Health and Board seem to be struggling to appreciate the issue having the biggest impact on Dungannon - the increasing population. GP services haven't kept up with the demand and that's a disgrace," he said.

“We have been calling for a medical base in Dungannon for over a decade now but we have had very little movement and seem to have watched as other areas have got theirs.

”It just doesn't make sense that we have been waiting so long when we have the site at South Tyrone Hospital that already has a GP surgery. Why does it take as long for the decision makers to green light a vital project like this?

”It feels like the day services at South Tyrone Hospital were reduced the services on offer to the local community went into permanent decline and everybody who is in control of this needs to take responsibility. It is a disgrace that the services have not kept up with the demand."

His comments were echoed by the Chair of Mid-Ulster District Council, Councillor Kim Ashton.

Speaking at the monthly council meeting she revealed that the discussion with the HSCB "wasn't very positive" and that "ongoing issues still need resolved".

Dr Murty's Northland Surgery has applied to the HSCB for a 'list closure' following the announcement that Dr. Murty would be retiring as of 30th April.

This has prompted the BMA's Northern Ireland General Practitioners committee to warn that practices in the area are now under "significant pressure".

Campbell's Surgery which is taking on most of Dr Murty's patients is recognised as "already beyond its capacity."

Speaking about the transition a spokesperson for the HSCB said: "To ensure patients continue to have access to GP services and to minimise any potential disruption during the transitional period, the HSCB has engaged with other GP practies to in the area who have committed to provide the service.

“For the majority of patients who live within the current practice area boundary, this means that their GP services will be provided by Campbell Surgery, Dungannon.

“Those living between the boundary area of the Campbell Surgery and Dr Murty's boundary will be allocated to their closest GP practice in the areas of Dungannon, Coalisland, Moy, Cookstown, Ballygawley and Aughnacloy.

“The remaining patients who reside outside the boundary of Dr Murty's boundary will be asked to find another GP closer to where they live. Letters will be issued to all patients providing details of the new arrangement.

“The arrangements that are now in place will ensure that high quality local GP services continue to be available to all."

Speaking at the Council meeting Local independent Councillor Barry Monteith said that whilst discussions around future provision is important, something needs to be done to immediately tackle the problem.

“The meeting needs to take place at a strategic level but anything that is discussed in these meetings is a long term action," he said. "We need to develop a short time action plan. Local practices need significant assistance from the Department and they need it now.

“We are being told GPS won't come to the area as they also want to work in an acute hospital and there are none in this area as they have been removed over the years, something needs to change."


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