A Donegal County Councillor has called for more investment into rural health services as local patients report extreme difficulties accessing their GPs.
It’s reported that one person in West Donegal made 126 calls to their GP clinic before getting an answer. The frustrated person was a parent who lives in the Gaeltacht area.
Another patient said they made 90 attempts to get through to their local practice this week.
Local councillor Mícheál Choilm Mac Giolla Easbuig says the issues are not a reflection on the staff, but a lack of investment creating burdens at the frontline.
“Our doctors are fantastic, this no reflection on the staff. The system that we have is not working,” he said.
“This is a substandard health service in our rural community. We are seeing the closure of our community local doctor clinics and are being told by the Government that Primary Healthcare Centres in our bigger towns are the way to provide a better service. It does not justify the closure of doctors in Anagaire, Dúcharaidh or Leitir Mhic an Bhaird. This is not working for our communities.”
“We need more staff and more doctors in communities that they are there to serve,” Cllr Mac Giolla Easbuig said
“These are communities without public transport, where people do not have the means to travel to the clinics and face costly decisions if they have to go to Letterkenny hospital.”
Cllr Mac Giolla Easbuig claimed that a failure to attract GPs and Primary Care staff, or to expand local services has placed an “impossible burden on existing services who can barely cope”.
“We now have a situation where local patients are having difficulty accessing GP and other services contributing to the current meltdown in hospital A&E and stresses on Nowdoc and other emergency services.”
He says he has asked Independent TD Thomas Pringle to raise the matter in the Dáil.
Cllr Mac Giolla Easbuig added: “It’s time that, not alone that doctors and health assistants are going back to the community, we need to make healthcare at the point of need free to everybody.”