SINN Fein Councillor, Albert Doherty, has praised the people of Inishowen for the efforts in making sure that the NowDoc service will be retained for the pennisula.
It was announced on Friday that the emergency medical service, will continue as normal after plans to axe it in Inishowen and Derrybeg, were scrapped.
Councillor Doherty handed a petition containing more than 5,000 signatures to the HSE West manager on Friday morning ahead of a meeting to discuss the future of the out of hours service.
“This was six weeks of solid effort by the people of Donegal,” said Councillor Doherty. “They, most of all, must be thanked for their hard work. I’m delighted that we are keeping NowDoc which means that we have parity of services in our part of the country. The people of Inishowen are entitled to have the same level of service as anywhere else.
“During meetings over the last few weeks I listened to many stories about how people received vital medical care from NowDoc.
“Going forward we must mow make sure that the commitment and finances are in place to make sure that NowDoc continues.”
Commenting on the decision, Fine Gael Minister of State Joe McHugh said that it was: “a real example of good partnership, where all the key stakeholders sat around the table, listened to what the community were asking for and worked out a way to ensure that this request was met.”
He commented: “I want to acknowledge all the hard work and ongoing commitment from each of these stakeholders, this announcement is the result of that commitment and I am very pleased that following the review period, the recommendation is that that the current GP deployment arrangements remain in place. This is for both West and North Donegal where the out of hours GP and red eye services will continue to be resourced.”
A spokesperson for the HSE said: “As part of the ongoing discussions between the HSE, GPs and Caredoc regarding the GP deployment model in the NoWDOC service, in County Donegal, it was agreed that the review period would be extended to the end of August 2015,to allow for an indepth data collection and analysis exercise to be completed, with specific emphasis on the “red eye” hours from 12 midnight to 8am, in the NoWDOC centres in Letterkenny, Derrybeg and Carndonagh.
“This extended review period also facilitated a live test period, for a two week period, between August 4th 2015 and August 18th 2015. The call activity data collection process and the live test period have now been completed.
“Following the review and analysis of the data gathered during the 11 week review period and the two week test period, the Caredoc GP Clinical Lead has recommended that the current GP deployment arrangements remain in place in West and North Donegal, for the red eye periods, as per the existing service arrangements and the parties will now agree the required arrangements to continue the resourcing and delivery of these service arrangements.
“The recommendations contained in this report are supported by Caredoc, the GPs and the HSE, who will now work together on the implementation of these recommendation. In accordance with the recommendation of this report, there will be no change to the current service arrangements. Out of hours GP services will continue to be provided in Letterkenny Derrybeg, Carndonagh, Mountcharles and Carrick on Shannon, on weekdays from 6pm until 8am on the following morning. In relation to weekend and bank holiday cover, the NoWDOC Centres at Derrybeg, Mountcharles and Carrick on Shannon will continue to provide 24 hour cover on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays. The NoWDOC centres in Letterkenny and Carndonagh will continue to provide services from 12 noon on Saturdays and 24 hour cover on Sundays and bank holidays.”