Offaly councillor calls for restoration of Midoc services
Calls were made once again for the restoration of Birr's Midoc service, which was shut in 2018, forcing patients to travel to Tullamore for the out of hours GP service.
Following a recent meeting of Birr Municipal District Cllr Clare Claffey raised the issue of Midoc again. As Offaly County Council will be providing the land for the development of a primary care centre on what is known locally as the 'Rectory Field', the councillor felt they were in a strong position to set requirements about the make up of the proposed centre.
The Midoc Out of Hours doctor service was removed from Birr in 2018 and the HSE have said it will not be reinstated. Cllr Claffey stated this was a political decision and may well change in the future, “so it was essential that suitable space for out of hours doctors service is provided within the new development”. She stated Offaly County Council should also “request that the new centre contains a diagnostic hub, including radiology, as has been the case in recent developments that are far removed from hospital facilities, such as Athlone”.
“The population that will be served by this facility would be far bigger than just Birr, potentially covering the whole south and west Offaly area. Apart from reducing pressure on an already overcrowded radiology department at Tullamore Hospital, development of both an out of hours doctor service and a diagnostic facility closer to home would greatly reduce car journeys – an important consideration as we face into an uncertain future with climate change and fuel availability.”
Claffey finished: “I will continue to push for this as part of the overall development and have written to both the Chief Executive of Offaly County Council and the HSE expressing this view. This is a huge issue for the people of South and West Offaly and one I don’t intend to let go.”