Surgery open without full GP cover

Donaghcloney GP surgery is operating with only one doctor due to difficulties in appointing a locum GP to cover the holiday period.

The situation came to light after a woman said her 18-month daughter had to wait two and a half hours to be diagnosed.

That was on July 16, but having demonstrated little signs of improvement her mother was reluctant to take her daughter back to Donaghcloney having learnt that one of the two doctors is on leave, meaning that there would be occasions when only one doctor was available.

She said: “Two and a half hours is too long for a one and a half year old to wait. And that was when there was two doctors. In my opinion they were already short even with two doctors. When they closed Waringstown surgery it was predicted this would happen.”

Waringstown surgery was closed temporarily after concerns were raised with the Health and Social Care Board with regard to the potential failure of the branch surgery premises to meet statutory requirements.

Ulster Unionist MLA Mrs Jo-Anne Dobson: “Officials are continue to drag their feet rather than working hard to reinstate the Waringstown surgery.”

A spokesperson for the Health and Social Care Board said the practice is currently reviewing its surgery appointment system and may consider moving to a booked appointment system to ensure situations such as this do not happen in future.

The spokesperson added: “The temporary closure of Waringstown branch surgery has had no impact on waiting times as the surgery times.”

The practice has, however, experienced difficulty in getting a locum GP to cover annual leave as a locum booked some time ago is now not available.

The practice apologise for any inconvenience to patients.