Written Answers. - General Medical Services Scheme.

Pádraic McCormack

Question:

530 Mr. McCormack asked the Minister for Health and Children the steps, if any, being taken to replace the dispensary doctor at Roundstone, County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28359/98]

The background to this matter is that the then permanent appointee to the Roundstone GMS post vacated the position at the end of August 1998 with a locum subsequently in place for the three month period up to 30 November. Since that time, the Roundstone panel has been served by a neighbouring general practitioner. In August and subsequently, the Western Health Board have gone to considerable efforts to fill the position but without success to date.

The position was advertised last August in the normal way and ultimately two doctors were offered the position but turned it down. The post was re-advertised in December with five applications received. Three of them withdrew before the interview date on 11 January. The two remaining candidates were general practitioners with existing practices in neighbouring areas who wished to take on the Roundstone panel as an additional practice with the possibility of seeking to recruit an assistant with a view to partnership to meet the increased workload.

Such a scenario was not in line with the health board's desire to appoint a doctor specifically to service the needs of the panel members in Roundstone. The board is continuing to make efforts to find a suitable person to fill the Round stone post on either a permanent or fixed term contract basis.