Plans by the HSE to redeploy sixteen reception/call handler staff from four outlying centres, including three in Donegal, have been attacked by the IMPACT trade union.
The union’s North-West spokesperson, Richy Carrothers claimed it was an attempt by the HSE to “dismantle by stealth” the GP Out of Hours service, NowDoc.
Staff at centres in Derrybeg, Mountcharles, Carndonagh and Carrick-on-Shannon have are being redeployed to other HSE facilities, it has been confirmed.
“Management have presented these plans under modernisation as part of the Public Service Agreement 2010 -2014 (Croke Park agreement). We have made a formal complaint to the Health Service Implementation Body (Overseeing the agreement in the health sector) as this move does not meet the criteria set out.
“Moreover, it appears to me to be further evidence that the HSE is attempting to dismantle the NoWDOC Service by stealth. This latest announcement seems to be part of the ongoing review to reduce the number of GP Out of Hours Services in the West from 3 to 1. It is an attack on vital services to the people living in rural communities,” claimed Mr. Carrothers.
The upshot of the move would, he said, effectively mean services users might turn up to any of the four outlying centres (Derrybeg, Carndonagh, Mountcharles and Carrick on Shannon) to find the doors were locked because the NoWDOC driver and doctor are out visiting patients. “The sick, worried parents with an ill child or those generally in need of urgent medical services would be left outside the door in the cold”.
The IMPACT representative claimed the plan was undermining the much needed NowDoc service and was a breach of the Croke Park Agreement.
“It is also quite probably illegal under State’s Equality legislation because all of those facing redeployment are women and the drivers being left in situ are all men.
“This not a situation that we will allow to develop without a fight, local HSE management are complicit in stripping health services from our people in that it is not an imposed decision from outside”.