A South Kerry coastal village without a full-time GP for more than a year is to have a permanent posting. Waterville has had a number of locums after husband and wife team Derry Gibson and Patricia Gibson retired in January 2017, after decades of service to the community.
The HSE has appointed Hernan Ganzo who had been practising locally as a locum. A Hungarian national working in Ireland for 11 years, he will be joined in the practice by his wife who is a nurse.
A public petition of over 1,000 signatures initiated last August by a German-French couple living in the Iveragh Peninsula area, seeking a full-time doctor, was supported by the retired GPs.
Locals believe the petition and public support had helped to resolve the matter. There had been claims that bureaucracy stood in the way of foreigners being appointed as GPs.
However, Majella Daly, HSE primary-care services manager in the area, said the recruitment of a GP into single practices in rural areas had proven challenging, not only in Kerry but in the entire western seaboard.
Helen O’Sullivan, who is involved in the ICA in Dromid, said the association had also sent letters to the HSE and demanding county councillors support the local appeal for a GP.
“There was huge concern locally. We had two great doctors for 40 years. Everyone is delighted with the result of the public pressure,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ms O’Sullivan said while the appointment was welcome, it was also hoped locally a female doctor would be appointed as there were no female GPs in the region. She said some women would like the choice of having a preference.
Fianna Fáil councillor Norma Moriarty, however, said in time it was hoped the HSE would consider the appointment of a second GP to help cover the large area.
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