THE INMO is urging the HSE to properly fund the NowDoc service in Donegal and Leitrim to ensure it is safe for patients and staff.
In a recent statement, INMO Industrial Relations Officer, Neal Donoghue said nurses working in NowDoc throughout the Covid-19 pandemic sounded the alarm in relation to the serious lack of investment in the out-of-hours GP services.
“Significantly, at a time where all health care services are under immense pressure and the HSE is directing the public to use out-of-hours GP services rather than attend emergency departments, no commensurate increase in triage services has been provided,” he said.
Mr Donohue said the HSE have fundamentally failed to put in place the necessary structures and supports required to manage NowDoc in the north west.
“Nurses are reporting that this weakness is contributing to the risks of the public in terms of delays in patients being seen by GPs.
“Nurses in the service have a vast range of knowledge and expertise in telephone triage and endeavour to provide the highest standards of service to their communities,” he said.
Mr Donohue concluded his statement by saying the HSE continue to employ nurses on temporary contracts in insufficient numbers which is simply unsustainable given the demand for their skills and expertise elsewhere.
The HSE recently outlined plans to move NowDoc in Letterkenny from its current location.
They received a notice requesting vacation of the existing building at Oldtown which has resulted in the HSE having to expedite plans to secure alternative suitable accommodation in the town.
“As part of this ongoing accommodation review, phase 1 was to identify suitable alternative accommodation to transfer the GP out of hours clinics in line with current Infection Control advice which recommends a separation of clinical & administration areas. Timely renovation works underway in the Errigal Chronic Disease Management (CDM) Hub in Letterkenny are now affording the HSE the opportunity to explore the relocation of the GP OOH clinical service to this location.
“Phase 2 will incorporate the Nurse Triage and Administrative elements of the service in the Letterkenny area with other HSE services.”