Dr David Booth who runs the Cedar Clinic in Portlaoise, is preparing to take on Dr Hickey’s public patients.
“There is an administration process before anything is confirmed” he said.
He says he has has room.
“We operate a 10,000 sq foot purpose built centre, with 14 consultancy suites, six doctors, four nurses and free parking, in the centre of a large residential area, with a pharmacy on site. This practice has gone from being single handed to six GPs in ten years, people vote with their feet,” he said, adding that he intends to take on an additional doctor.
He does not see the 1.5 mile distance from Dr Hickey’s practice as a problem.
“We have patients travelling from Ballyroan, Mountmellick, Emo, and from St Brigid’s Place. I don’t have a concern with the level of service we are planning to provide, and I don’t see why people should have,” he said.
He tries to offer ‘same day’ appointments he says.
“While I can’t guarantee it, it is our policy. It is possible to see your doctor of choice. We try to accommodate patients, but they can be facilitated with another doctor,” he said.
Holding a satellite clinic on the far side of town is not a runner.
“When you have a state of the art premises, it wouldn’t make sense, we have a centralised service here and can provide more, but I am not saying we are better than the person down the road,” he said.