Lisnaskea patients have increased seven fold

THE NUMBER of patients on the books at the Lisnaskea GP surgery has increased seven fold in the past decade, new figures have shown.
According to the data released last week by the Department of Health’s Business Services Organisation (BSO), the number of patients registered with a GP at Maple Group Practice in the town has jumped from just over 2,100 in 2012 to over 14,100 this year.
It is far and away the most dramatic increase in patient numbers at any GP practice in the North over the same period, with the figures confirming what patients in the area were already painfully aware of – that the practice has been put under pressure by such a huge and sudden surge in demand.
For several years now patients have been struggling to get access to the surgery, with most having to call the practice scores of times before managing to speak with someone on the telephone.
For example, one local patient last week had to ring a total of 63 times, over the space of 45 minutes, before getting through. It should be noted, however, the patient added once they got through they did secure a prompt appointment, and said their care was excellent.
The surge in the number of patients requiring the surgery’s services can be traced back to the closure of a number of smaller GP practices in the surrounding areas, most notably the Roslea surgery in 2017 following the retirement of Dr Donal Collins.
This has resulted in patients from the Roslea area facing a 35-mile round trip to visit a GP in Lisnaskea.
In November 2022 the operators of the Maple practice notified the Strategic Planning & Performance Group (SPPG) that they were handing back the contract, causing much concern for the future of the practice.
Fortunately, in February last year it was announced a new provider had been secured, while last May it was confirmed a non-profit group of doctors had agreed to take on the running of the practice.
Work is also ongoing to secure a new health centre building for the practice, with plans progressing for a new £20 million 3,500sq metre centre, which will be located on the site of the old high school in the town.
However, with delays in work starting, it is expected it will be at least 2026 before the project will be completed.
“The focus of the project is on improving accessibility, service delivery, and increased multi-disciplinary working within south east Fermanagh, and it will bring GP, Trust community and older peoples day care centre services together under one roof,” Department of Health permanent secretary Peter May said last year.

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