Interviews for the appointment of a permanent GP in Newmarket-on-Fergus will be held over the next two to three weeks.
Last May, Dr Colm Hackett retired from the post following forty two years of service. Approximately 1146 patients were treated by the Dublin native in Newmarket-on-Fergus.
Deputy Joe Carey (FG) has been informed by HSE Primary Care Services Manager, Angela Frawley that moves are under way to provide a local GP service until the new appointment is finalised. She confirmed to the Clare TD that interviews will be held either the week beginning January 20th or January 27th..
Dr Yvonne Williams of the Shannon Medical Centre has been treating Dr Hackett’s GMS patients as an interim measure but Deputy Carey stressed that an out-reach GP service needed to be provided in Newmarket-on-Fergus until a full-time GP is in situ. He said that such a service was vital because having to travel to Shannon was difficult for older people and those with disabilities, particularly with such poor public transport connections.
The Clare Echo understands that contact is to be made by the HSE this week to Dr Hackett about the possibility of Dr Williams using his premises for the provision of some level of services to patients in Newmarket-on-Fergus.
Carey criticised the manner in which the appointment process has been handled by the HSE ever since a provisional agreement with a new GP broke down last September. “The outdated system of appointing GPs is far too cumbersome and takes months on end. The HSE had been aware for some time that Dr Hackett would be retiring on last May but the panel wasn’t advertised until last March and the initial appointment only confirmed in June”.
“It was widely known that Dr Hackett was retiring and plans to replace him should have been well advanced by prior to his departure. There is huge concern and anger in Newmarket On Fergus over this issue. Despite her best efforts, it’s extremely difficult to secure same day appointments with Dr Williams and it’s an added burden for Newmarket-on-Fergus people to travel to Shannon,” he said at the time,” Carey told The Clare Echo.