NEWS a non-profit group of doctors has agreed to take on the running of Maple Healthcare in Lisnaskea this month has been welcomed locally.
Last November there was significant concern in the community after the doctors running the Lisnaskea practice – which had absorbed thousands of additional patients in recent years following the closure of GP practices in neighbouring areas – handed back their contract, citing extreme pressures.
In February it was announced a new contractor had been secured, and this week those new contractors – the Federation Support Unit (FSU) – wrote to patients introducing themselves and explaining they were representatives of general practice working to support practices across the North.
Stating they would be relaunching Maple Healthcare under a new name this month, they outlined how the centre would be managed by a Community Interest Company (CIC) for the benefit of local people, which would see a change from the traditional partnership model within general practice.
Local Cllr Sheamus Greene welcomed the fact it would be doctors taking over the running of the service.
“I was quite happy to see it’s a non-profit organisation, which will counter act some of the rumours that were circulating that people were going to have to pay to see their GP,” he said.
“To me it looks like an extremely positive development,” he said.
MLA Tom Elliott and Cllr Victor Warrington also welcomed the takeover, but called for the restoration of the Stormont Assembly.
“I’m pleased that the GP contract for Lisnaskea has been successfully taken over by a Community Interest Company,” said Mr Elliott.
“Having regularly engaged with Peter May of Department of Health over many months, I know there had been intense discussions over the future contract, I hope this new management will benefit all patients after a positive trial piloted in a Portadown GP Surgery.
“I will be keeping a watching brief to ensure this take-over has a patient first approach and not just a business enterprise where patients are not the main focus.”
Cllr Warrtingon said, “The news of Maple’s takeover will come with much needed relief for patients and the local area that has been hampered with cuts to local services in the past. I hope the management fair well for the future with the pending development of the new Lisnaskea Health Centre at the old High School site.
“Nevertheless this situation further reiterates the dire need for an executive with a Health Minister delivering for people. We’ve retained the Surgery, now we must work towards delivering better outcomes for patients”
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