The community of Bansha, Co Tipperary and those residing in the surrounding hinterland are expected to converge on their local GAA village hall in large numbers tonight, to discuss serious concerns over the imminent departure of their local General Practitioner (GP).
The current GP presiding over the health clinic at Bansha, which has over 2,500 patients, is due to retire in the New Year; however to-date no replacement applications, to take over the duties of this rural vacant practice, have been received by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
The reason for lack of interest by GP’s in applying for this post, is the removal of a ‘Rural Practice Allowance’ by the former failed TD and Health Minister, Mr James O’Reilly. This ‘Rural Practice Allowance’ prior to the ascendency of this government was paid to offset the high costs naturally incurred in attempting to run a rural surgery situated outside of larger urban areas.
We understand that those organising this emergency meeting have been criticised by local TD Mr Tom Hayes, who claimed that the meeting was unnecessary and who also stated that the issue was resolved. We understand this matter in fact, to-date, has not been resolved as per Mr Hayes’ own Facebook, uploaded by him on Nov. 25th 2015 and which states “I will be meeting with the Health Minister Leo Varadkar later today to discuss the current situation in Bansha. I understand there are fears regarding the future of the service, but I am confident that the situation can be resolved.” One cannot help but wonder what kept him from approaching Mr Varadkar prior to Nov. 25th.. Was he not aware of the plight of his local constituents or perhaps he was ill himself and had been forced out of the area and thus out of earshot, while in search of a resident GP in Dublin’s Blackrock Clinic?
However we now understand from locals that Independent TD Mr Michael Lowry has intervened in this most serious of health-care issues and has placed a common sense plan of approach on the table which is currently being carefully examined. While no details of the ‘Lowry Plan’ were forthcoming from his office today, we understand that if his proposals are agreed the ‘Rural Practice Allowance’ may be returned to the areas of not just Bansha, but also to Cappawhite and Glengoole, Co. Tipperary, where similar serious rural GP replacement problems also currently exist.
One must ask the question “What has Co. Tipperary done, to so offend this present Fine Gael / Labour government, which over the last 5 years has done absolutely nothing to support our ailing rural communities, except in the last few days to attempt to steal our ‘Shannon waters’ for an over inflated Dublin economy?”