Patients in Glenarm and Carnlough fear a new ‘branch’ GP service in the area could lead to longer waiting times for medical treatment.
The new service, located in the village of Carnlough, will be a branch of Cushendall’s Glens of Antrim Medical Centre.
The service, which will replace retiring Glenarm GP Dr Benedict Glover, will begin in April.
Over 1,300 of the 2,022 patients registered at Dr Glover’s Antrim Coast Road practice will be taken on by the expanded service in Carnlough, with other patients being registered with neighbouring GP practices.
While the news that a GP service would still be available nearby was greeted with relief by many patients, several feared that taking on such a large number could overhwhelm the Cushendall practice.
Posting on social media, one woman wrote: “Brilliant news for the patients already on Cushendall’s books who already have to wait about a week to see a doctor and especially if they want their appointment in Carnlough.”
Another added: “They would need two or more doctors or come up all day every day and people to answer the phones and not have to wait three weeks for appointment.”
A third said: “Dr. Glover will never be replaced.
“Many people still to be allocated places in surgeries.”
A spokesperson for the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) said they were “not in a position” to “provide specific details about the new GP arrangements” as “work is progressing during this transitional period.”
She added: “Letters will be issued to all patients providing details of the new arrangements.
“The HSCB made every effort to recruit a GP to take over Dr Glover’s practice, however the arrangements that are now in place will ensure that high quality, local GP services are available to all.”