Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly with Independent Cllr Brendan Fay (on left) and Áine Smith (on right).

Swad GP raised with Minister

The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, has contacted the HSE in relation to GP services for the Swanlinbar area.

Deputy Brendan Smith gave the update to this newspaper today.

"I discussed with the Minister for Health again this morning the Swanlinbar GP vacancy and the need to make a permanent appointment.

"Minister Donnelly confirmed to me that he had been in further contact with the HSE on this important issue," he said.

Two other local councillors have spoken with the Health Minister in the past week in relation to the issue following a heated public meeting earlier this month.

Both Independent Brendan Fay and Fianna Fáil’s Áine Smith spoke with Minister Donnelly at the Annual Conference of the Association of Irish Local Government (AILG) in the Arklow Bay Hotel in Wicklow on February 14 and 15.

Cllr Fay told the Celt that he made Minister Donnelly aware of the need for a permanent GP appointment in the area.

In a statement, Cllr Smith also confirmed: “He was very aware of the situation from Deputy Brendan Smith and I emphasised to him the importance of this issue to the local community and the Swanlinbar catchment area. The Minister advised he will follow this up for me and I will continue to pursue this also.”

Their representations to the minister follow a public meeting earlier this month.

Dr Cristian Cimpoeru has been a locum GP in Swanlinbar Health Centre for almost three years since the retirement of Doctors Jacqueline Ellis-Deering and Kevin Deering in late 2020 but his contract is set to expire at the end of the month.

The HSE says it is at an “advanced stage” of implementing a new “pilot initiative”. The HSE claims to have tried and failed to recruit a new permanent GP to the local practice to take over the General Medical Services (GMS) panel, and says the proposal now is for a doctor, based out of Ballyconnell, to cover Swanlinbar for three full days per week with additional mornings “if required”, and a practice nurse would be “available on a part-time basis”.

Local man Derek Bailey credits Dr Cimpoeru with “saving my life”. He said as much at the public meeting at Swanlinbar’s St Mary’s Hall, and repeated the “near miss” tale when speaking with the Celt.

Coming off a night shift working at Mannok Packaging, Mr Bailiey, from Killaduff near Swanlinbar, attended Dr Cimpoeru’s surgery, before being sent straight to Cavan General Hospital.

“I spent the next three months in hospital with a valve in my heart. He’s a good man, a great doctor, and we need him in the village,” says Mr Bailey, who believes “the HSE don’t want to listen to the people. If they did this wouldn’t be happening.”


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