Current GP situation “unsustainable”

THERE have been renewed calls for health chiefs to meet with local representatives over ongoing issues of GP cover in the county, following the recent chaos in Lisnaskea. 
The town’s Maple Health Centre was already under pressure even before it saw its patient load significantly increase with GP retirements and the closure of other surgeries in areas such as Roslea. With various problems such as poor parking and a faulty roof, a new building had been in the pipeline for a decade but was delayed for several reasons, most recently the collapse of Stormont. 
Earlier this month there was chaos when the practice offered patients the winter flu vaccine, with Saturday traffic in the town coming to a standstill. MLA Rosemary Barton said it had been “pandemonium.”
“It underlines that the current health centre and the access to it is frankly unsustainable during busy periods,” she said. “With reports of police being required to direct traffic highlights the real unsustainability of the current situation.” 
Cllr Brian McCaffrey said the scene had been like “a Third World field clinic”, with patients queuing for hours. He felt the queues should have been foreseeable, as the practice currently had in the region of 7,500 patients on its books, a percentage of which would require the flu jab. 
Overall, he said patients in the area, particularly those in Rosela, were still in limbo regarding the future of their GP care in the area. Cllr McCaffrey said Roslea Save Our Services and local representatives had been pushing for a meeting with Department of Health officials for some time. 
Overall, he said the people of the area were feeling very isolated, with many older people having to rely on the good will of others just to see a doctor. 
“The bottom line is people here are out on a limb,” said Cllr McCaffrey. “Maybe we’re feeling it more now because of everything that’s going on around Brexit and all of the other problems that there are. But it is, as an area, feeling really marginalised.”

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