569. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Justice if an appointment will be made to a facility (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46133/21]


Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): Everyone in custody is provided with healthcare services based on an equivalence of care to that which is provided under the General Medical Scheme in the community.
Those services are based on a primary care model which includes general practitioner services made available to all those in custody.
In respect of the specific case referenced by the Deputy, I understand that the Irish Prison Service recently held a national competition to recruit Prison Doctors to fill positions across the entire prison estate. Unfortunately, they were unsuccessful in recruiting a General Practitioner posting for Castlerea Prison.
I am advised that the Prison Service will shortly return to the market to recruit additional Prison Doctors and consideration is being given to advertise specifically for a General Practitioner to work at Castlerea Prison.
The Deputy will wish to be aware that the Prison Service is currently meeting its requirement for the provision of GP services at Castlerea Prison by employing locum GP’s who are engaged by way of a contract agreement with a provider of those services.
This arrangement has been challenging on occasion and the locum providers have not been able to supply a locum GP placement to Castlerea at all times, however I understand that this situation is reflective of the difficulties which are being experienced nationally in other clinical settings in terms of securing locum GP cover.