The health service will take into account the individual circumstances of patients when assigning them to a new GP.
Local councillor, Conor McGuinness says a commitment has been secured from regional HSE management at a recent meeting of the Health Forum for this area.
He raised the matter in response to a situation last month regarding patients in Dungarvan being sent to a GP in Cappoquin.
“My motion called on the HSE to ‘have regard to the specific medical need, geographic location, and/or mobility issues of individual patients when assigning them to a new GP’," Councillor McGuinness said, "and was tabled in response to the situation locally where patients in Dungarvan found themselves assigned to a GP in another town, with no regard to their ability to travel, their ongoing needs, or their medical conditions.
“The situation in Co. Waterford is part of a wider crisis in general practice, where the shortage of doctors is causing chaos for tens of thousands of patients.
"There is shortage of GPs across the state many practices are under severe pressure. It is proving impossible to fill vacancies when GPs retire or move away."
The Irish College of General Practice has referred to a ‘severe shortage’, with 1,600 doctors required to cover current shortages, and an additional 500 to cover projected shortages due to retirement.
At present Ireland is only training some 230 doctors per year and not all of these will enter general practice.
The Sinn Féin councillor says, "The commitment given by the HSE on foot of my motion won’t solve the crisis, but it will ensure that the needs of patients are taken into account the next time a situation arises where a GP retires or moves abroad."