Flood of support for GP ‘forced to leave’

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Readers have been pledging their support for Portadown GP, Dr Shauna Heanen, after she explained her decision to leave Bannview Medical Practice due to unbearable pressures.

In a letter which she made available to the Portadown Times last week, Dr Heanen outlined the problems she had faced in the months leading up to her resignation.

She explained how she found herself caring for 5,200 patients on her own in October, after her colleagues left. She herself will leave in under two weeks’ time.

One woman wrote on the Portadown Times Facebook page, “Dr Heanen was the best GP I’ve ever had. She has been a great support to me through a difficult time health-wise a couple of years back and unlike some GPs I’ve had over the years she actually genuinely cared. Stormont is a total disgrace and just doesn’t have the capabilities to sort real issues like this.

“I really hope something can be done to save this practice and all GP practices in NI. What are the politicians who we vote for actually doing?”

Others described her as a “fantastic GP” and an “amazing doctor” and called the situation a “disgrace”.

Another post read, “So sad... she is a fantastic GP and will be sadly missed. Always so thorough and genuinely cared for her patients. It’s a disgrace that Bannview has become what it is....the health minister needs to urgently step up and address these situations immediately.”

MLA Jo-Anne Dobson has said the GP shortage at Bannview needs to be urgently resolved so it does not spill over onto the other 45,000 patients at Portadown Health Centre.

Sinn Féin health spokesperson Catherine Seeley said she and John O’Dowd “are content that the Health and Social Care Board, in conjunction with the Department, are doing all to attract additional GPs to this practice”.