Friday 24 May 2019

Hundreds of patients face being 'forced to change GP'

Dr Nina Byrnes: Instructed to transfer the patients’ files. Photo: Maxwells
Dr Nina Byrnes: Instructed to transfer the patients’ files. Photo: Maxwells
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

Hundreds of patients may be forced by the HSE to change practice, according to family doctor Nina Byrnes.

Dr Byrnes said the patients had been seen by another GP at her Glenageary practice - but when he left, the HSE said it would be moving them.

Now, the patients are set to be moved to another practice nearby while Dr Byrnes has been instructed to transfer the patient files.

Dr Byrnes said the HSE "froze" the GMS (medical list) list that was in the departing GP's name.

She contacted the HSE to ask could these patients be moved onto her list in the same practice in Dublin's Glenageary.

"They said they couldn't, that they would freeze the list for a total of six months, meaning patients can't move on or off it and that the list would be advertised."

Dr Byrnes said she wrote to patients "advising" them of what was happening. "Within two weeks we had received over 400 signed change of doctor forms to switch to my list, which accounted for nearly all of the 600-plus patients."

However, Dr Byrnes claimed the HSE told her she was "in breach of my Castleknock contract by going between two practices".

The doctor, who also has a practice in Castleknock, said this was "not true" as she has a contract stating "that I or my deputy need to be available 40 hours a week. We are open 8am to 6pm in both."

She said: "I pointed out that we have dying patients, those with mental health issues, dementia and serious chronic disease, who had built up a relationship with us and had declared they wanted to remain in our care and were very upset at the thought of being forced to move."

Dr Byrnes added: "The HSE stated policy is that a GP cannot have two lists but despite several requests they have been unable to produce the protocol or legislation that requires this."

The HSE said: "GMS patient lists are assigned to a specific GP. If the GP no longer wishes to hold the list, there is a well-established process for the assignment of those patients to a new GP."

Irish Independent

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