The Health and Social Care Board has offered an assurance to Glenarm patients amid fears that some could have no GP at the end of the month.
Anne McKillop who belongs to retiring GP Benny Glover’s practice says that because GPs in Larne had not confirmed that they would take on a number of his patients, it appeared that some residents of the village may not have been able to access a medical practice.
An open letter from Larne Family Practice, signed by every GP practice in Larne, states that they are ‘concerned’ at the reallocation of some of Dr. Glover’s patients to practices in Larne.
The letter states: “The additional patients have the potential to affect the services we provide to all our patients.
“Patient safety and service is our utmost priority. We are open to further discussions as to how this is taken forward on an equitable basis for all patients.”
While over 1,300 of Dr Glover’s patients from the Antrim Coast Road Medical Practice will be taken on by a new ‘branch’ practice of Cushendall’s Glens of Antrim Medical Centre located in Carnlough, the remainder, approximately 700, are expected to be dispersed among Larne GPs.
However, the GPs’ letter, published by the Times a fortnight ago, states that “nothing was agreed” at a meeting they had with the Health and Social Care Board on January 10.
Despite this lack of agreement, the group say that they “then received a letter advising us of the number of patients to be assigned to each practice”.
They added: “There has been no negotiation or further discussions with us.”
The HSCB has insisted that all Glenarm patients will have a GP at the end of March.
A spokesperson referred to the General Medical Services Contracts Regulations which state that the contractor may, if his list of patients is open, accept an application for inclusion inhis list of patients made by or on behalf of any person whether or not resident in his practice area or included, in the list of patients of another contractor.”
or provider of primary medical services.