Donegal spokesperson for éirígí has criticised the HSE for its plans to reduce the NoWDOC service in the county, stating that the plans will endanger the lives of people in Donegal. The plans by HSE management would see a redeployment of NoWDOC staff to other HSE work in Ballybofey in a further cost cutting measure in the health services in the county.
The NoWDOC service which was set up in 2007 provides access to GP doctors outside of normal practice hours and operates in the North West region. Working on a rota system of GP's in the area where one doctor covers specific areas at any one time, the service caters not only for large towns like Letterkenny, but also for outlying regions from four centres such as Derrybeg and Carndonagh. If the planned reduction is implemented it could see the service reduced to one centre operating out of Letterkenny meaning only one vehicle covering the whole of the county.
Speaking in relation to the planned cuts, éirígí spokesperson Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig called for the cutbacks to be abandoned immediately. “These planned cuts are a disgrace and should be roundly condemned by everyone. The setting up of this service was itself a cutback from previous access people had to their GP outside of practice hours and now we see more plans for further reductions purely as a cost cutting measure.
“People living across the whole of Donegal, many who live in very remote areas, rely on having access to a GP outside of practice hours. Such cuts in a service like the NoWDOC are a direct attack on the people and families of Donegal and most importantly on the most vulnerable in our society such as the elderly, infirm and those with babies and young children. It is not sensationalism to suggest that a move to reduce this service will endanger the lives of many people in the county."
Calling for action against any proposed cuts the éirígí spokesperson said “The HSE managers clearly have no regard for the well-being of the people of County Donegal when they can plan cutbacks which will endanger life purely in the interest of saving money just so the government can redirect that money to paying off the debts of reckless bankers and a greedy elite. These plans must be resisted and it is important that the ordinary people act now by contacting their local HSE offices to voice their objections and by asking their GP if they support such cuts. People need to put pressure on both to resist further reductions to healthcare services in Donegal. If such cuts are allowed to go ahead the HSE and the government will continue to put more lives at risk in the interest of saving money.”