Response from Health Minister on Dalriada GP out of hours move, branded 'unsatisfactory'

Mid Ulster SDLP candidate in the Assembly election Patsy McGlone has described as "unsatisfactory" a response from the Health Minister Robin Swann to concerns he raised about the move of the Dalriada out -of -hours GP service from Mid Ulster Hospital to Antrim Hospital.

In a letter to Mr McGlone, the Minister said: "Dalriada Urgent Care (DUC) is the organisation responsible for GP Out of Hours Services provided in the Northern Area.

"Since the Covid-19 pandemic and the increasing use of remote consultations, fewer patientswho contact the GP Out of Hours Services have needed to be seen face to face in an Out of Hours base.

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"After a review of infection control, staffing and patient safety issues at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, DUC’s face to face services have been temporarily relocated from Ballymena, Whiteabbey and Magherafelt to the Antrim Hospital site. The Coleraine centre remains on the Causeway Hospital site. This configuration remains due to staff challenges.

The GP out-of-hours service was moved from Moneymore to Mid Ulster Hospital a few years ago, and now it has been moved to Antrim Hospital.

"The position remains under review."

Mr McGlone replied: "Given the situation, I find this response entirely unsatisfactory. Please advise of what measures are being taken to address the total lack of doctor-on-call services in my constituency."

A Moneymore man recently launched a petition demanding the Dal Doc out of hours service is returned to Mid Ulster Hospital in Magherafelt.

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