Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Petition flags up ‘potentially life-threatening situation’ over Crossmaglen GP care

Residents in Crossmaglen have begun circulating a petition to help garner public support amid concerns patients face potentially restricted GP care in the town.

As revealed by The Examiner last month, the town’s two GP practices are facing significant staff shortages with two of the three permanent doctors having tendered their resignations to the Health and Social Care Board (HSC).

Dr. Neal Walker is set to leave the Rathkeeland House-based practice next month while his partner, Dr. Patrick Fee, is expected to serve out his notice until November.  Despite assurances from the HSC that it is actively seeking replacement doctors, a nationwide shortage of locum GPs has heightened concerns that the care of some patients will be compromised if the service is not sustained at its current level.

Now residents of the area have launched a petition calling on the Health Minister Simon Hamilton, the HSC, Southern Trust and the NI Executive to “address the serious and potentially life-threatening impending situation” facing the Crossmaglen community.

The petition appeals to the Health Minister to honour his previously stated commitment that everyone in Northern Ireland has access to the best possible health care and signatories “urgently demand that appropriate and adequate GP cover be provided in our area immediately”.

In just a few days since its initiation, the petition has already attracted hundreds of signatures.  Those behind the campaign are calling on everyone in the area to register their concern and make a point of signing the petition before it is presented to Health officials within the next few weeks.

Petition forms are currently available for the public to sign in the following places: Crossmaglen Post Office, Crossmaglen Health Centre Pharmacy, MJ McConville Pharmacy, Luke Murphy Pharmacy and Cullyhanna Pharmacy.