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Killarney doctor plans to join next week’s national GP protest

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BY MICHELLE CREAN

A Killarney doctor, who says the health service is in crisis, plans to take part in a major protest with hundreds of other GPs outside the Dáil next week.
Dr Michael Moloney from Killarney Medical Centre, says GPs are stressed out, overworked, and working with limited Government resources.
The National Day of Action by GPs, which is being organised by the National Association of GPs (NAGP), will take place almost a week after thousands of nurses nationally, including 400 in Kerry, went out on strike.
NAGP says years of successive cuts in Government funding for general practice have created an inefficient unstructured health system which is now collapsing.
For months they say the Government promised to reverse the 38 percent FEMPI cuts to GPs imposed over past years - and to offer - and properly fund a new, modernised GP contract - but these things have not yet materialised.
They also say that the number of doctors who can no longer take on any more patients is a growing crisis, and that the medical card system can no longer cope - having been starved of Government resources.
Not enough new doctors are being appointed by the State to serve the public, they say, and many are having to retire early, due to burnout.
The future survival of the GP service is vital to enable it to serve patients and the issue affects whole communities around Ireland, explained Dr Moloney, who set up his practice seven years ago, with Dr O’Doherty.
Both are hoping to attend next week’s protest - but say unless they can source a locum for cover - it might not be possible as their practice is just too busy.
“The issue here is that the NAGP have called for a national day of protest amongst GPs in relation to the working environment and the stresses put on general practice,” Dr Moloney told the Killarney Advertiser.
“You can ask any GP across the country about the impact the successive cuts have had - you’ll hear the same thing from everyone.”
He said that he personally works up to 80 to 90 hours per week in order to accommodate patients, take care of paperwork and fulfil his contracted SouthDoc hours.
“The GP service is in crisis and has been for a long time,” Dr Moloney, who worked a full day Tuesday, covered his SouthDoc hours Tuesday night and returned to his practice Wednesday morning, said.
“I’m in strong solidarity with my nursing colleagues - but the same thing is going on with GPs for years. The reality is that this is unsustainable. What we need is to be resourced. It’s a big problem.”
“We have a contract that’s not fit for purpose it’s over 40 or 50 years old.”
Currently, he explained, doctors receive approximately €46 per year for a patient with a medical card, and that same patient has unlimited visits.
“As a private businesses we take up the slack in what’s provided by the Government. You break that down, €46 - divided by 12 is €3 to €4 a month to look after a patient with unlimited visits. You couldn’t insure a pet for €40 a year – it just makes no sense.
“The reality is that this is unsustainable in this current climate. You can’t provide a service to patients like that.”
GPs are retiring younger, he added, while practices are also closing down and communities are left without a GP service as newly trained doctors are instead opting to move abroad to work less hours for higher pay.
“We train about 180 in Ireland per year and they're exporting half of them.”

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More than  38,000 homes, farms and businesses across the country without power

Gale force winds associated with Storm Barra, with gusts of over 130 km/h, are continuing to cause damage to the electricity network, currently affecting more than  38,000 homes, farms and businesses across the country. The damage is mainly attributable to fallen trees on overhead lines as a result of the high winds. ESB Networks’ crews will […]

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Gale force winds associated with Storm Barra, with gusts of over 130 km/h, are continuing to cause damage to the electricity network, currently affecting more than  38,000 homes, farms and businesses across the country.

The damage is mainly attributable to fallen trees on overhead lines as a result of the high winds. ESB Networks’ crews will continue to work late into the evening to restore power to those affected, where safe to do so, but unfortunately, some customers will remain without electricity overnight.

Since early morning and despite challenging conditions, ESB Networks have continued to restore power to customers across the country.
With the storm still crossing the country, more damage and interruptions to supply can be expected. ESB Networks reminds the public that if you come across fallen wires or damaged electricity network, never, ever touch or approach these as they may be LIVE and extremely dangerous.

All internal resources and contractors remain on alert and are responding to electricity outages once it is safe to do so. With a Red weather warning in the Southwest in effect until 9 pm tonight, and Co Clare until 1 am on Wednesday morning, some of our crews may not be mobilised on the ground until the worst of the severe weather passes.

We are advising all those impacted by outages that they should prepare to be without electricity overnight and into tomorrow, with some customers potentially without power beyond that. It is very important that any customers who use electrically powered medical devices should contact their healthcare professional to make alternative arrangements if necessary.

In addition to safety procedures associated with power restoration, crews continue to work under all national Covid-19 protocols with respect to hygiene, social distancing and PPE.

Customers without power can check for updates on when their fault is expected to be repaired at www.powercheck.ie

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“Avoid the Ballycasheen area of Killarney” Kerry County Council

County Kerry is now bearing the full brunt of Storm Barra and the Kerry Severe Weather Coordination Team reminds everyone that a Status RED weather warning, the highest such warning, remains in place for Kerry until 9pm. Kerry County Council is advising people to avoid the Ballycasheen area of Killarney Due to the significant risk […]

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County Kerry is now bearing the full brunt of Storm Barra and the Kerry Severe Weather Coordination Team reminds everyone that a Status RED weather warning, the highest such warning, remains in place for Kerry until 9pm.

Kerry County Council is advising people to avoid the Ballycasheen area of Killarney

Due to the significant risk to life and property, members of the public should remain indoors and not travel for the rest of the evening. Everyone is advised to follow updates on weather warnings from Met Éireann as well as the local media and social media.

There are an increasing number of roads closed or blocked because of fallen trees, electricity poles and spot flooding. Council crews will respond to issues when it is safe to do so and with the assistance of other agencies where required.

The N71 road at the Suspension Bridge in Kenmare remains closed to traffic as does the N70 Tralee to Castlemaine Road at the hairpin bends. There are a significant number of local and regional and local roads blocked or partially blocked by fallen trees, electricity poles and debris in all parts of the county so travel should be avoided.

The Ballycasheen Road in Killarney and Main Street in Ballybunion (and the surrounding area) should be avoided due to concerns about potential falling debris.

The Council’s emergency contact number is 066 7183588 and it will be operational through this evening and tonight.

Fallen electricity wires/poles and power outages should be reported to ESB Networks on 1800 372 999.

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