DOCTORS across Louth and the North East region have withdrawn from primary care teams after accusing the HSE of deliberately slowing down the processing of medical cards.
116 doctors are refusing to co-operate with the HSE on primary care.
The doctors who are making the stand say patients will not be affected by the move, but Junior Minister for Health Roisin Shortall has hit back at the doctors involved, urging them to end their action.
North east doctors say patient care is being hit by reduced fees and cutbacks in the out-of-hours service, with some suggesting that the HSE are deliberating slowing down the process of delivering medical cards.
The HSE has rejected this allegation.
A local doctor who spoke to the Dundalk Democrat on the matter said that GPs are “pissed off” with the HSE in general and says that his patients are experiencing huge delays with regards to the processing of medical cards.
“Everyone is so pissed off with the HSE. Morale is very low at the moment. We keep on being told that they are focusing on primary care when in fact they areconstantly removing resources from primary care,” says Dundalk GP Dr John Whately.
“I have patients who have been waiting three to four months for a card that is meant to be processed in 14 days. This is definitely a mechanism by the HSE to deliberately slow down the process. It is is a deliberate ploy by the HSE though they are denying it.”
Dr Whately says that he is unaware of any doctors in Dundalk that have been involved in the Primary Care Team initiative, and that it exists only on paper.
A statement on behalf of Minister Shortall said: “The minister only received correspondence from the GPs yesterday afternoon (Friday).
“The minister is disappointed that the GPs have taken this action, they may be in dispute with the HSE but it is not appropriate to take action that impacts negatively on their patients.”