Concerns have been raised this week for the future of the GP service NowDoc.
It’s understood a review is underway into out-of-hours services in the region.
Possible changes to the operation of the out-of-hours service in the North-West could see Caredoc, who supply GPs for the NowDoc service, taking over the region.
Under the proposals, the NowDoc call centre and triage will no longer be based in Letterkenny and will instead operate out of Carlow. This has sparked concerns that local geographical knowledge will impact the delivery of care for patients.
Speaking today, Donegal Deputy Pearse Doherty said: “NowDoc provides crucial out-of-hours service and is a massive support to GP practices and hospitals.
“Any diminishing of services, whether it means a reduction in the number of staff, redeployment of staff, people having to travel further, talk to a centralised call centre or pay additional costs, will not be acceptable.
“Changes to the out-of-hours service should be welcomed if they clearly enhance the service provided to patients but not if it can be seen to diminish the service.
“It is unthinkable that this move could come at a time when our health service is as overwhelmed as it is. Such significant changes to our out-of-hours services could have disastrous consequences.
“This is not the first time that an attempt has been made to cut back and dilute our NowDoc services in the region. We now must resist this attempt to reduce the service as we have done before.
“I have contacted the HSE demanding an urgent meeting to address this issue”.