Concerns are being raised about the closure of an after-hours GP service that is serving the needs of more than 300,000 people in the Midlands.
On Christmas Eve it was announced that Midoc would be closing at the start of the new year, January 1st, citing financial pressures as the reason for the closure.
Midoc was founded in 2002 by a group of local general practitioners.
It covers Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath counties and provides medical care to patients with urgent needs whose GP is part of the Midoc.
The service has centers in Athlone, Tullamore, Longford, Porlaoise and Mullingar.
In a statement, HSE Midlands Louth Meath Community Healthcare said it had been working with the service for a number of months to “help address the financial challenges”.
News of the closure was met with “shock” at the scene, said Laois-Offaly TD Charlie Flanagan.
Mr Flanagan said hundreds of thousands of people in the region rely on Midoc and a suitable solution must be found as soon as possible.
“It’s a big problem here in the Midlands,” he said.
“The announcement on Christmas Eve was received with shock. I believe the HSE should take over the service until a more permanent solution is found.
“I understand that talks took place in the autumn and I think they should be reconvened to discard a solution.”
“I think the HSE has a responsibility to the people of the Midlands. We hear about unprecedented pressure on hospitals every day. Should the Midoc service not be taken over by the HSE, this will put serious pressure on the emergency departments at three hospitals in the region, namely Portlaoise, Tullamore and Mullingar,” he added.
In response to the closure, the HSE said it had allocated additional resources to provide after-hours GP care in the area.
“The HSE is disappointed that MIDOC made the decision to halt trading indefinitely effective midnight on 31 December 2022 as we sought to provide a sustainable model going forward,” said a spokesman for the health service.
“In the short term and to mitigate the risks, the HSE has put in place adequate coverage via a third party based on normal and planned GPOOH practice and rosters, ensuring the necessary support is in place to provide the best possible care to our patients Service users while ensuring patient safety and service quality are at the forefront of service delivery.
“The HSE is also in the process of looking for an alternative provider which we hope to be able to put in place in the coming month. The HSE will continue to communicate and work with all relevant stakeholders to ensure they are fully informed and consulted on future developments.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/shock-as-midlands-emergency-gp-service-catering-to-more-than-30000-set-to-close-from-new-years-day-42246555.html Shock as the Midlands GP emergency service, which serves more than 300,000 people, closes from the New Year