PATIENTS of Castledawson Surgery are ‘needled’ by having to travel to Bellaghy for the next seven months just to see a doctor.
Work got underway this week on a major renovation scheme at the surgery on Station Road and isn’t expected to be finished until early next year.
A group of patients are concerned that the elderly, infirm and those with mobility problems will face huge inconvenience.
The plans include the addition of an extra surgery along with larger and more accessible GP and nursing rooms. However, no additional car parking spaces will be available.
Throughout the works programme, services will be provided by Castledawson staff at the branch surgery in Bellaghy Medical Centre.
A spokesperson for the patients stressed that several Castledawson residents were concerned that they would have to pay for taxi fares that they could ill afford to travel to Bellaghy and back “as not everyone drives.”
A representative of the Health and Social Care Board has highlighted that patient services have been temporarily moved from Castledawson to Bellaghy as “no suitable premises were found for rental in Castledawson.”
The spokesperson added that a portacabin “was not a viable option” on safety grounds due to heavy machinery on the surgery site.
“Computer access was also an issue and would have meant that GPs would be working without full medical history for patients,” said the spokesperson.
See South Derry Mid-Ulster Mail for full story