A Cork TD has welcomed SouthDoc’s reversal of its decision to keep Blackpool's out-of-hours GP service shut during the current pandemic.
Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould, who has been calling for the reopening of the service in the northside of the city since last year, received correspondence from the HSE confirming that the service will reopen in mid-January.
The correspondence, which has been seen by The Echo, confirms that Cork Kerry Community Healthcare (CKCH) has been advised by SouthDoc management that the centre at Blackpool will be reopened and available to patients by appointment with a current planned operational date for the week commencing January 18.
At the onset of the pandemic, SouthDoc operated out of six centres including Mallow, Bandon, Bantry, Castletownbere, Midleton and Kinsale Road for a number of months until clinics began to reopen across the region in June and early July.
Blackpool SouthDoc services, however, remained shut with correspondence received by Deputy Gould through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request in December indicating that an updated restoration of services plan had been sought by CKCH since September 18, with SouthDoc confirming on October 1 that it was “not planning on reopening either Listowel or Blackpool treatment centres”.
Deputy Gould said that the reversal of the closure “is a tremendous victory for the people of the northside” after over 1,200 people signed his petition.
It is clear now to the Government, the HSE and Southdoc themselves that the people of the northside need healthcare and they cannot continue to be forgotten.
He said that the people of the northside “desperately need this facility especially in the middle of a pandemic” with the HSE warning that this closure posed a serious risk to unnecessary hospital presentations.
Deputy Gould said he is “hopeful that today’s announcement will ease the anxiety and stress people have been under”.
“People across the northside can now access out-of-hours doctor’s services again and that is extremely welcome news,” he said.
It comes following Monday night’s full council meeting where city councillors passed a motion submitted by Sinn Féin councillor Mick Nugent, unanimously agreeing that the council would call on SouthDoc management to reopen the facility.