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September return for GP services in Newmarket-on-Fergus

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GP services are to return to Newmarket-on-Fergus in September.

A provisional agreement has been reached with a general practitioner and the HSE. “It is hoped that this GP will commence working in Newmarket-on-Fergus from the 23rd September 2019 on a full time basis. Once this is confirmed a letter will issue to all patients providing them with this information and confirming the date when service will resume,” a spokesperson for the HSE told The Clare Echo.

Newmarket-on-Fergus has been without a GP since the retirement of Dr. Colm Hackett in May who served the local community for the past forty two years. A temporary arrangement is in place with Dr. Yvonne Williams providing medical services to Dr Hackett’s patients at the Shannon Medical Centre until the position is filled. “His many acts of kindness resonate with us. We hope that Colm will enjoy many relaxing and healthy years in retirement,” the Newmarket Parish Office stated.

In March, a panel was advertised with interviews held over the past month, three suitable candidates were identified with the HSE stating during the process that it intended to fill the role on a full-time capacity.

Community development organisation, Obair had been “inundated” dealing with concerns from elderly local residents regarding the availability of a GP in the village as they found it “extremely difficult” to transport to the medical centre in Shannon.

Independent TD, Dr. Michael Harty felt Newmarket-on-Fergus was “unique in securing the appointment of a full-time replacement”. “Sadly, this is not the norm in many villages who are often left with an outreach service from an existing medical practice when a long serving GP retires”.

“Colm Hackett provided an excellent caring service and it is inevitable that his retirement would cause anxiety among patients who hold him in high regard. The situation highlights once again the difficulty in finding GPs will to work in rural areas. Unfortunately, other villages in Clare will face  similar problems as doctors reach retirement age. There is no easy answer. Younger doctors don’t find single doctor practices attractive and want to work in a team environment. It isn’t just about money alone, although the medical brain drain to more lucrative employment abroad is an important factor,” Dr Harty added.

Newmarket-on-Fergus native, Páraic McMahon is a freelance journalist and broadcaster currently working for numerous national and local publications including The Clare Echo, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, RTÉ, TheJournal.ie, The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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