A WEST Clare patient was directed to seek GP out-of-hours treatment outside their own catchment area, a local councillor has claimed.
Speaking at a recent HSE West Forum meeting, Councillor Cillian Murphy said he was contacted by a person in West Clare who stated they were directed to other centres in Ennis, Limerick or Nenagh instead of Kilrush.
“If you want to shut a service in an area, the easiest thing to do is to refer people onto another service in a different area. This reduces your client base for the service in the area.”
He said it is not good enough to expect people in West Clare to drive to Miltown for an out-of-hours GP service when the Kilrush centre is not operational.
He proposed there should be some way of improving this service for West Clare patients.
Speaking to the Clare Champion, he said it takes longer to travel from Kildysart to Miltown than it is to go to Kilrush.
“There is a huge portion of West Clare where it is a significant journey to travel to Miltown instead of Kilrush. It is quicker to go to Kilrush from Doonbeg.
“This is adding stress and time to patients. There is a big enough catchment area around Kilrush that is being discommoded at this time by having to go to Miltown.
Councillor Murphy said GDPR is not a good enough reason for the public not to be made aware who were the members of Shannondoc in view of the fact it is funded by the public purse.
“The public has a right to know who is or who isn’t involved in providing GP out-of-hours services for Shannondoc.”
He was told that the Kilrush centre has re-opened from 9am to 7pm on weekends and public holidays. The Kilkee councillor also asked for the most recent list of GPs participating in Shannondoc Service’ in Clare.
The Miltown Malbay centre operates from 6pm to 8am Monday to Thursday, 6pm to 9am on Friday, Saturday 7pm to 9am and Sunday 7pm to 8am.
A doctor may not be on site at all times, but there is a doctor on duty available to see patients when and if required.
Since March 2020, the model of service delivery by ShannonDoc for the provision of Out-of- hours services differs in that the GP may not always be present in the treatment centre but will be available to patients as required.
Maria Bridgeman, Chief Officer, HSE Mid West Community Healthcare outlined ShannonDoc have confirmed that a team of triage nurses, patient care administrators and central dispatchers are available to people across the Mid West, including West Clare, midweek from 6 pm to 8am Monday to Thursday and 24-hour cover at weekends and public holidays from 6 pm Friday to 8 am Monday.
Patients can access the service by calling the new Lo-call number 0818 123 500 or 061 459 500. Every patient will receive a full clinical assessment by a nurse free of charge.
Depending on the clinical circumstances, the patient is given either a face-to-face appointment at one of the ShannonDoc Treatment Centres, a virtual consultation or the doctor will see the patient in their own home. In essence, every patient that needs to be seen is seen, and the delivery of quality clinical care remains the priority.
“In 2021, a total of 46 member GPs in Clare were actively participating in ShannonDoc’s Out-of-Hours Service. These individual general practitioners are contracted to ShannonDoc and not the HSE.
“Under GDPR, ShannonDoc is not permitted to provide a list of the company’s members without their consent so therefore we are not in a position to provide this information.”