Thirteen months after resident GP Colm Hackett retired from private practice in Newmarket- on- Fergus, the HSE has finally found his successor.
Dr Colum Galvin, the Principle Medical Director of Saffron and Blue Medical Centre in Clarecastle and a native of Ballynacally, will provide the GP service from Carrigoran’s Health and Wellness Centre, beginning on Monday, June 22.
Dr Colm Hackett retired from practice in May of last year and in the interim the people of Newmarket-on-Fergus have been without a family doctor. Those that needed treatment had to travel to Dr. Yvonne Williams who was based at the Shannon Medical Centre.
Locals were beginning to lose faith of a successor being appointed when the possibility of a new GP being in situ fell through last September. However, the long-running saga is now at an end.
Local councillor Pat McMahon admitted it has taken a lot of time and work to finally get to this stage and the overriding emotions in the community were of relief and welcome with the appointment.
“Last September we had a false dawn and then had Covid-19 in the middle of it all. I’m relieved we finally have confirmation that full-time GP services will resume at Newmarket very soon. People had been looking for a resident doctor for some long and it’s great that an appointment has finally been made,” he says.
Councillor McMahon pointed to the scenario in Thurles and Youghal where similar vacancies exist and where the posts had to be re-advertised. He said that at present there are 14 areas in Munster without a doctor.
“To be fair, people are thrilled with the appointment. However, some people, especially some older people who don’t have transport, have said they might have a little difficulty getting out to the Wellness Centre in Carrigoran . That’s what a few people have said to me but its a small price to pay to get our GP.
“I not putting that down as a criticism but the vast majority are delighted that a doctor has been appointed. Genuinely there is great relief that the vacancy has finally been filled. Dr Galvin is quite a popular doctor, People who know him have said that. He’s a Clareman and he’d be familiar with the area which is another bonus,” Councillor McMahon maintains.
The Fianna Fáil councillor said the Wellness Centre is a good location to base the practice.
“It is a very good location, a new building close to Carrigoran House. You could say is virtually a purpose built building in that there is plenty of space there and rooms to have consultations and clinics,” he adds.
Deputy Joe Carey who had campaigned for the appointment was also pleased that the issue had finally been resolved. However, he admitted that his preference and that of many personnel from Newmarket-on-Fergus was for the service to be located in the village.
“Ideally we would have liked the new service to be a more central location and this was something I raised on several occasions. However, Dr Gavin has determined that Carrigoran House has the facilities which will enable it to deliver the best service to the people of Newmarket,” he says.