SouthDoc Blackpool is to begin accepting scheduled appointments later this month, a Cork GP has confirmed.
In March last year, SouthDoc, the GP out-of-hours service in Cork and Kerry, stated that it planned to close down a number of its clinics in Cork, including Blackpool, in implementing a “consolidated model” in the face of Covid-19.
It had been anticipated that the service would resume in January, but this did not happen with SouthDoc saying at the time that the deterioration in the Covid situation meant it was "prudent" not to resume activity at the centre at that point.
Speaking to the Echo, Dr John Sheehan said he has received correspondence that confirms SouthDoc now intend to re-open before the end of this month provided there is no deterioration in respect to Covid-19 activity.
“I was talking to a member of the board and he confirmed it. It is anticipated it will be the end of the month. It is aligned with the Covid restrictions which will hopefully ease over the coming weeks. They will then consult with the local GPs who will be working with them. They will look at the staffing, the manpower and the demand. The plan then is to open it,” he said.
Cllr Sheehan said it is great news for the north side.
“It is a very welcome development. It has been a long process over the last 12 months with lots of twists and turns. This is great news for everybody,” he added.
Dr Sheehan said long-term SouthDoc will have to come up with a centralised centre for Cork city.
“How we deliver healthcare has changed in the last year. I think long-term SouthDoc needs to look at having one centralised centre for the city which needs to be acceptable to people from the north side.”
Cork North Central TD Thomas Gould also welcomed the news.
“It is very positive news. It is a good news story for the northside. It is good news providing it is a return to full services. People within the local community will be so glad when it re-opens as it is badly needed.”
Deputy Gould said he will be seeking clarity regarding a definite date and the range of services on offer in the coming days.
“People will be understandably cautious as it didn’t re-open the last time it was announced. I would prefer it if we had a definite date. We will be seeking clarity in the coming days on a definite date, what services they will be providing and their opening hours,” he added.
Cllr Ken O’Flynn said the closure had been a "tremendous inconvenience and cause of stress" to people living on the north side.
SouthDoc was contacted for comment.