Northern Ireland

Roslea surgery closure to leave village without doctor

GP working in surgery

The GP surgery in Roslea, County Fermanagh will close at the end of this week, leaving the village without a doctor for the first time in more than 100 years.

Patients will be transferred to Lisnaskea.

Local politicians say this will mean longer journeys and waiting times for appointments.

Temporary cover was provided when the former GP retired in June 2016.

However, despite the post being widely advertised within the UK and Republic of Ireland no one applied to take on the contract.

'Patients transferred'

At the time, the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) advised that "patients should not be unduly concerned as final arrangements are still being confirmed" and said "quality medical services will be maintained in Roslea."

But in an update this week the HSCB confirmed that the surgery would close and patients transferred to the Maple Healthcare practice in Lisnaskea .

'Seriously misled'

However, the board has plans for a new Health and Care Centre in Lisnaskea.

Sinn Féin councillor Thomas O'Reilly said patients had been "seriously misled" when they were told last year that the surgery in Roslea would be retained.

'Over-subscribed'

He described the situation as "a disaster" for people in rural areas who have no access to public transport.

"People at the extremity of the Roslea practice say it will be a 35-mile round trip for them to visit their doctor now in Lisnaskea," he said.

He claimed the practice in Lisnaskea was "already oversubscribed" with people having to wait "maybe a couple of weeks for appointments".

He told BBC News NI that the GP crisis in Fermanagh has been "flagged up and has been talked about for years" and said more needs to be done to attract doctors.

Mr O'Reilly believes the decision to close rural surgeries will place additional pressures on out-of-hours GP services and A&E and "the cost has got to outweigh in the long term the investment that should be put in to retaining the GP services in local areas".

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