People’s lives could be put at risk with the threatened cutback in Now Doc services in south and west Donegal, an independent Donegal County Councillor has warned.
Speaking to the Donegal Democrat, Cllr. John Campbell said, “I have received several reports from constituents who are concerned at the possibilities of severe cut backs on the Now Doc services in both Mountcharles and Derrybeg which would raise serious safety issues for the people of South and West Donegal.
“The suggestion is that the service would cease from midnight to 9 am in the Derrybeg and Mountcharles areas leaving people needing urgent care dependant on one Doctor operating from Letterkenny.
“Do they not realise that illness does not recognise time and this would leave people with a serious illness very much at risk in the middle of the night?”
He added: “I would not like to be suffering from a serious and sudden illness and waiting for a doctor who may have to travel up to 50 or 60 miles - it is endangering the chances of survival in many cases.
“I would hazard a guess that these services are required more in these late hours rather in daylight hours when patients have access to their own doctors.
“It is a bit ironic that this is supposed to be Donegal Co. Council ‘Social Inclusion” week and instead we are looking more at a Social Exclusion week for the people of rural Donegal with this proposal and the debacle surrounding the X-ray facilities in both Donegal Town and Killybegs.”
Cllr Campbell has written to the HSE stating that the geographical extent and rural nature of Donegal will make this impossible and impact on safety and has put three questions to the Now Doc management. He wants to know whether a review of Now Doc service provision is currently taking place and whether such a curtailment of service as speculated above is being given consideration in this review. He has also asked what are the guidelines and criteria that govern the provision for patient care in relation to the Now Doc service
The public representative has called on the doctors and staff currently providing the Now Doc service to make their views known to the HSE on the suggested cutbacks affecting their patients.
“I understand that the doctors participating in the service work one night in seven and are supported financially by the HSE should a locum be necessary at any time.
“During these years the service has been provided none of the service providers have expressed dissatisfaction.
“It is difficult to understand why the service is now under threat. I would ask people to make their views known to their G.Ps on this vital matter and I am confident of the support of all of my colleagues.”