HSE says the service is operating as normal

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The HSE, in a statement to the Leitrim Observer, said it would like to reassure patients and their families that the NoWDOC service is operating as normal.

The HSE, in a statement to the Leitrim Observer, said it would like to reassure patients and their families that the NoWDOC service is operating as normal.

In November 2013 the North West GPs entered into a commercial agreement with Caredoc Ltd, to manage the GP out of hours services in Donegal and South Leitrim on their behalf.

GPs are independent practices and the HSE has no role in the commercial arrangements entered into by the GPs and Caredoc Ltd.

The HSE has continued to support the GP out of hours service through the provision of premises, resourcing and managing the call centre in Letterkenny, and providing vehicles/drivers to transport GPs.

The HSE and Caredoc Ltd have been in discussions regarding the organisation and management of the service that is provided to clients, however, agreement has not been possible on a number of core issues these include funding and autonomy.

Caredoc Ltd have sought a subsidy from the HSE for each GP to fund the service. Payment of this subsidy would mean that HSE (Donegal) would have to reduce services elsewhere and the HSE cannot agree to that.

The HSE has agreed to fund Cardoc Ltd for the post of a medical director based in the North West to provide clinical governance for the service.

Caredoc Ltd have also sought full autonomy to manage the GP out of hours services including the number of GPs to be employed out of hours, locations etc. However the HSE has an obligation to ensure that a high quality of service continues to be provided to all parts of Donegal and South Leitrim.

To that end the HSE have sought a commitment from Caredoc Ltd that any future changes to the current model will be fully risk assessed by the medical director and will require the approval of a liaison committee comprising of representatives from the HSE and Caredoc Ltd.

The HSE continues to liaise with general practitioners regarding the future organisation of the out of hours service to ensure an ongoing, quality service is delivered.