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New GP Service Secured For Residents In Baltinglass

Wicklow TD Jennifer Whitmore welcomed the news of the successful recruitment of a new GP for the west Wicklow town of Baltinglass.

Whitmore has, however, called on the government to take on a more proactive approach to addressing the shortage of GPs in Wicklow and around the country.

Deputy Whitmore said:

It is a great relief for families in Baltinglass to know that a new GP has been appointed to fill the vacancy left after the retirement of one of the town’s GPs, who had operated their one-doctor surgery in the area for many years. I know that many people in West Wicklow are struggling to even get on waiting lists for local GP Practices at the moment, so the thought of an entire GP Surgery patient list being without a doctor was very worrying.”

“However, this does speak to the fact that West Wicklow, like the rest of country Wicklow, is massively impacted by the shortage of local GPs available to them. I conducted a survey of all the GP practices in Wicklow over the summer, and I found from speaking to Practice Managers, Receptionists and GPs that 70% of Wicklow GP Practices are not currently taking on new patients. This is staggering, especially given the growth in population we have seen all over the county in recent years.”

Deputy Whitmore also noted that the government are taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to addressing the shortage of GPs. She went on to say: “I raised this issue with the Minister for Health in the Dáil last week. The Minister for Health’s response to the question was less than satisfactory.  He noted an increase in those training to work as GPs in Ireland, but that will not translate into any immediate relief for families who cannot find a GP in the county of Wicklow.”

“I want to see the government address this issue urgently. The Social Democrats believe in a public health model, including local GP care. Often, private practices who cannot get a GP to take up vacant contracts are left in the lurch, as are their patients. We need a steady and reliable supply of GPs in a public system which ensures continuity of local care for everyone,” concluded Ms Whitmore.

Social Democrats Local Area Representative for West Wicklow, Deirdre McCormack, also welcomed the news that the vacancy in Baltinglass had been filled.

“This is great news for the Baltinglass community and will hopefully ensure a seamless continuity of care for patients. There is a chronic shortage of local GP availability across West Wicklow with many families depending on out-of-hours GP services in Kildare or Carlow for their medical needs. This situation needs to be urgently addressed,” commented Ms McCormack.


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