A COMMUNITY group set up in response to the GP crisis in the wider Lisnaskea area has requested a meeting with the new organisation that has taken over Maple Health Practice.
Earlier this month news a Federation Support Unit (FSU), which is made up of a group of doctors and set up by the Department of Health’s Strategic Planning and Performance Group (SPPG), had taken on the contract for the embattled health practice.
Now, the Erne East Community Health Committee, which is chaired by Tina McDermott, was set up due to the pressure on Maple Healthcare, has requested a meeting with the SPPG on the issue.
Cllr Eamon Keenan, who is a member of the committee, said there has been very little improvement in the service since the Federation have taken over a the beginning of May and many in the community were concerned as they were still struggling to get appointments.
Cllr Keenan noted the practice currently caters for 16,000 patients, having taken on patients from the surrounding areas of Roslea, Newtownbutler, and some of Maguiresbridge, after the GP surgeries there closed.
Speaking to the Herald, Cllr Keenan said he feared all local practices in the county “are all going to the same way.”
Referring to the claims doctors didn’t want to come to work in Fermanagh, he urged the powers-that-be “to listen to the people down here and take our needs and our health seriously.”
“We’re not second class citizens, we have the same right to see a doctor as anyone in Belfast or Derry or anyone else,” he said.
“In fact, we pay through our National Insurance the same as anyone else. It’s not free, we pay for it, and we’re entitled to it by right.”
Cllr Keenan said he had contacted the Cuban ambassador, who he has been working with to secure surgeons for the SWAH, to also request help in providing GPs for Fermanagh, which he said was a great place to live.
“You’re not going to get a more beautiful place than Fermanagh, and if you’re on a doctor’s wage or a surgeon’s wage, what more do you want,” he said.
“The only reason people leave here usually is to find work and high paid jobs. If there are high paid jobs here, I don’t see why they wouldn’t want to live here.”
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