PRIVATE patients claim they are being left high and dry following the closure of Dr Pat Bailey’s practice at Cork Road, Skibbereen in August 19.
The Health Service Executive confirmed that all of the medical card and GP card-holders have been automatically transferred to the Skibbereen Medical Centre in Market Street, but many private patients – who were obliged to collect their own GP files – are still looking to register with a new GP.
One former patient at Dr Bailey’s spoke to The Southern Star saying she accepted that attempts had been made to keep the practice open, but they had proved to be unsuccessful.
She said she was aware that there was a suggestion, about two months ago, that a GP had been found to take over the practice but that had not materialised.
In the meantime, she said: ‘It is very hard to find a new GP because a lot of GP’s books are full, and it’s especially hard for people who don’t have transport, so going to Bantry or Schull is not an option for them.’
The issue is complicated by the fact that some medical centres have put geographical restrictions on accepting new patients on the grounds of safety.
One GP confirmed that ‘distance is a factor’ for safety reasons and that a radius of nine to 10 miles was ‘ideal’ in terms of response times.
In a statement issued by the HSE, a spokesperson said: ‘The Skibbereen Medical Centre on Market Street will provide full medical services to all GMS patients (ie medical card holders) of Dr Pat Bailey from Monday August 21st.
‘The contract for the GMS list will transfer to Skibbereen Medical Centre and all GMS patients on the list have been informed in writing of the move.
‘Cork Kerry Community Healthcare is pleased that we can ensure continuity of service for patients on the GMS list. This transfer means that the practice on Dr Bailey’s premises on the Cork Road will close at 1pm on Saturday, August 19th.
‘Private patients and their records are the responsibility of Dr Bailey. Dr Bailey has advised us that patients wishing to have their records transferred should contact [email protected] and ensure that a request is forwarded by their new GP.’