Anger as after-hours GP service to be cut

The Caredoc after-hours GP service covering Clonmel and surroundings areas will suffer a cutback in its services from next Tuesday, November 1.

The Caredoc after-hours GP service covering Clonmel and surroundings areas will suffer a cutback in its services from next Tuesday, November 1.

Caredoc has confirmed that due to funding cutbacks it is cutting one of the two drivers based in the Clonmel Caredoc area who transport GPs to house calls in the area that covers a hinterland.

Phonsie McCarron of Caredoc said they will continue to have three GPs on call, two of them from home but from November there will be only one driver to transport them to house calls in the Clonmel area between midnight and 8am from Sundays to Thursdays.

Independent Clonmel Cllr Richie Molloy said the Clonmel Caredoc service covers a very wide hinterland and he is very concerned at the cutback to this service.

“I am very concerned that this is another important service that is being cut back to the detriment of the people of Clonmel and surrounding areas,” said Cllr Molloy.

Cllr Molloy, who is also Manager of Clonmel Carers Association Resource Centre, has called on the HSE to ensure this reduction in the Caredoc services doesn’t go ahead.

A statement issued by Caredoc said it will continue to provide the same high quality out of hours service to the people of South Tipperary.

“Patients will continue to be seen in Clonmel and in Cashel and outlying areas as has always been the case.

“To put things in context it is important to state that the number of patients in the South Tipperary area requiring a doctor after midnight on weekday nights ranges from two to six of which between 0 and 4 are home visits.

“On week nights after midnight Caredoc will continue to have three doctors on duty, one doctor mobile throughout the area with a driver and two doctors on duty locally from their home as needed.

The statement continued: “Everyone knows we are in difficult financial times and all budgets are being reduced and Caredoc is no different from any other service.

“The HSE carried out a National Review of GP Out-of-hours services and published their report in March 2010.

“The report stated in its recommendations that: “The Review Group recognised the necessity for drivers in the co-operatives; however each region should review the delivery of services by drivers with a view to providing services in a more effective manner, particularly with regard to the red eye shift”.

“While Caredoc are implementing the recommendations in this report they are endeavouring to ensure that patients are not impacted by these cost cutting efficiencies,” the statement concluded.