Tuesday, 21 June 2022
Department of Health
General Practitioner Services
740. To ask the Minister for Health the number of doctors on duty to cover the out-of-hours general practitioner service NowDoc in every part of Donegal, per week, for each of the years, 2016 to 2022 inclusive in tabular form; and if he is satisfied that this is adequate and safe coverage. [31870/22]
GPs contracted under the General Medical Services Scheme are required by their contract to make suitable arrangements to enable contact to be made with them, or a locum or deputy, for emergencies outside of normal practice hours. While there is no obligation on GPs to participate in GP out of hours co-operatives as a means of meeting their contractual requirement, such services facilitate the provision of GP services outside of normal surgery hours and help to spread the burden of this provision.
While the HSE provides significant funding to support out of hours co-operative services through service level agreements, GP out of hours cooperatives are private organisations. The HSE maintains regular contact with the out of hours service providers, and over the past two years in particular there has been greater engagement to ensure that the services continue to provide the supports needed by local communities. In recognition of the key role GP out of hours service providers play in the delivery of our health service and the challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, a financial and service stability arrangement for GP Out of Hours cooperatives was introduced with effect from 14th March 2020.
In relation to the number of GPs participating in NowDOC in Donegal, as this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.