Permanent solution to Maple crisis must be found

SINN Féin’s Áine Murphy has called on the Department of Health and the Western Trust to ensure that a permanent solution is found for patients and families of Maple Healthcare GP practice in Lisnaskea.
The Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA was speaking following reports highlighting the uncertainty of the practice’s future.
Murphy insisted that everything must be done to protect the practice and ensure residents in the town and surrounding area had access to a GP.
She said: “The current situation at the Maple Healthcare GP practice is deeply concerning and needs an urgent solution from the Department of Health and Western Trust with the contract set to end in six months.
“This is one of the biggest GP practices in the north and is responsible for the care of around 15,000 people.
“It must be protected to ensure families in Lisnaskea, Roslea, Newtownbutler and surrounding areas have access to a GP.
“Our entire health service is under huge pressure, and organisations like the Royal College of Nurses, BMA and the Royal Colleges of Surgeons have been clear on the need for an Executive and a health minister in place taking decisions to tackle the problems.”
Murphy stated that a lack of a functioning Executive at Stormont was detrimental to the Health Service as a whole and that it needed to return in order to ease the burden on both doctors and patients.
Meanwhile Ulster Unionist Councillor, Victor Warrington, has told the Western Trust that the Maple GP practice in Lisnaskea is too big to fail.
He said: “The revelation that Lisnaskea GP Practice could be facing closure next year has sent a shockwave through the local community.
“In my opinion however given the sheer size of the practice, along with the fact that it now covers such a large geographic area, it is simply too big to be allowed to fail.”
“By that I mean the Western Health and Social Care Trust should be moving immediately to reassure patients and staff that if a new contract holder cannot be found that it will intervene to take over the responsibility for the practice.
“That is exactly what happened with the Dromore and Trillick GP practice after the previous Minister Robin Swann refused to sign off a proposal for a patient dispersal there.
“Lisnaskea GP practice is not going to close, so what patients and staff need now is urgent clarity and reassurance.
Local community activist, Caroline Rice stated that people in rural areas were getting a raw deal in regard to healthcare access.

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