A Ratoath GP has blasted the HSE for refusing to deliver vital Covid vaccine to her surgery because of what it terms, ‘logistical reasons’.
In a letter to all patients over 80, Dr Ursula Keane of the Meadowbank practice criticises the state body for its failure.
The letter, seen by Meath Live, and reproduced below, states, ‘ The HSE has refused to deliver to any of the smaller practices in the country, this includes our practice.
‘The HSE claims that delivering to practices that do not have a strong cohort of over 70s patients is not worth their while from a ‘logistic’ point of view, even if they are delivering in the area anyway’.
The doctor then reveals the reason why her surgery cannot actually collect the vaccine, as she reveals, ‘We cannot collect the vaccine as specialist equipment is required to ensure the vaccine is stored at the correct temperature.’
Keane then says that if the situation is not addressed her patients are likely to have to travel to the mass clinic in the Helix centre in Dublin to be vaccinated, and points out problems associated with that.
She claims,’ Colleagues who brought their elderly relatives there for vaccination have told me there is a lot of walking involved from the car park to the centre and in walking around inside the centre as directed, this may prove difficult for some people’.
The medic then goes on to say that the HSE’s non delivery policy is discriminatory, saying, ‘I believe that the refusal to deliver vaccines discriminates against you and that you are just as entitled as any other patient in the country to have your vaccine delivered in a timely manner by your GP’.
Keane concludes by asking her patients to contact their TD’s to highlight the issue.
In a statement the HSE acknowledges there is an issue and claims to be taking steps to address it.
A spokesperson said, ‘The HSE is aware, that for a small number of GP practices there have been operational issues regarding ordering and delivery schedules, particularly in rural areas where GP Practices have been unable ‘Buddy Up’ with larger GP practices or participate in the large vaccination centres this week.
‘We are working through these issues with the GP representatives and the IMO to address them. Due to the complex nature of delivering vaccines in smaller quantities to smaller practices, we are in contact with individual GP practices to double check orders and support them through the process, and are facilitating vaccine deliveries to those practices.
‘A central GP Order Support Team is assisting the GP community in placing their orders and understanding the delivery arrangements, in order to ensure the smooth roll out of the vaccine.
‘The HSE has a proven record in responding to all changes that have arisen throughout this process and this is no different.
‘Approximately 1,300 GP Practices will have participated in the vaccine programme by the end of this week.
The vast number of GPs have been vaccinating their patients in the 85 and over age group without any issues.
‘Practices scheduled for delivery this week have been contacted by the HSE and sent a confirmation email which the GP should confirm in terms of the number of vaccines required for patients aged Over 85. The supply chain continues to operate deliveries to vaccination points through our National Cold Chain Service.