Concerns are growing for the future of NOWDOC services in Inishowen following confirmation that the company and the HSE are ‘reviewing service provision arrangements.
It is believed changes could include closure of the service after midnight as well as a centralisation of the current four NOWDOC Centres covering the county could be reduced to one overall centre based in Letterkenny, meaning the Inishowen NOWDOC service in Carndonagh would be closed and there would only be one car covering the entire county.
Inishowen TD Padraig MacLochlainn has rejected this plan and described any suggestion of the erosion of the existing services as “a red line issue” for the people of the peninsula.
The Sinn Fein Deputy has stated the NOWDOC service must be maintained.
“I understand that the HSE management are considering further proposals to shut down the NOWDOC treatment centres outside of Letterkenny.
“I have made it absolutely clear to the HSE managers that this is a red line issue for the people of Inishowen.
“We will not accept having to travel to Letterkenny or wait on a doctor call out from Letterkenny in the event of a medical emergency.”
He added that HSE managers John Hayes and Kieran Doherty have outlined their proposals to remove the NOWDOC receptionists based in Carndonagh, Gweedore,and Mountcharles from Monday to Thursday and redeploy them to other HSE work in Ballybofey.
“If this proposal goes ahead, then the NOWDOC treatment centre in Carndonagh and the other locations will have to close when the doctor and driver on duty are called out.
“This is an erosion of the existing service and will clearly cause inconvenience to Inishowen patients”
The Buncrana TD believes the people of the peninsula will not accept any further changes to the out of hours service.
“I am now publicly calling on HSE management to make it absolutely clear that the NOWDOC out of hours GP base at Carndonagh will not be closed to the people of Inishowen.
“The people of Inishowen have accepted the compromise that was NOWDOC in order to take pressure of local GPs.
“We will not accept any further erosion of our essential health services”.
Carndonagh TD Charlie McConalogue has said there are real concerns about possible cutbacks to our out-of-ours GP service in the future.
The Fianna Fail TD has called on the HSE to give an absolute commitment that NoWDOC services will not be diluted in any way.
“I believe it is important that they do so publicly and without delay, in order to reassure families and individuals throughout Donegal who are worried about a reduction in this essential service.
“It is absolutely essential for local areas to be fully covered by an out of hours GP service. The HSE has a duty to the public to clarify their position in relation to NoWDOC services in a way that removes any doubts whatsoever on the issue,” conclude Deputy McConalogue.