The HSE has said that it is seeking clarification from SouthDoc as to a pathway to the full reopening of the Blackpool centre in Cork city.
In correspondence seen by The Echo, SouthDoc’s Cork City Cell Committee recently informed city doctors that it agreed with the HSE that patients will be seen by appointment at the Blackpool centre if they are unable to make the journey to the centre at Kinsale Road.
The doctor assigned to the ‘mobile’ shift will see the patient by arrangement at the Blackpool treatment centre if deemed clinically appropriate following a phone consultation.
SouthDoc said it expects the numbers to be low “as the majority of patients have transport and are more than happy to travel”.
A spokesperson for Cork Kerry Community Healthcare (CKCH) told The Echo: “While Cork Kerry Community Healthcare welcomes the reopening of Blackpool and the restoration of services at this centre on an appointment basis, we seek clarification from SouthDoc as to the pathway to the full reopening of the centre, as was the case pre-Covid-19.”
The spokesperson said that CKCH appreciated that in line with its own services, restoring services must be done in a stepped way, similar to the relaxation of restrictions in line with public health.
“CKCH awaits a response from SouthDoc with this additional level of clarity,” the spokesperson said.
In correspondence seen by The Echo, CKCH Chief Officer Michael Fitzgerald informed TDs he had not been advised of a pathway or a proposed date for a full reopening of the Blackpool and Listowel centres “which has been the subject of repeated requests to SouthDoc”.
“I wish to reiterate the HSE’s commitment to pursuing SouthDoc formally in relation to a full reopening of the services in both Listowel and Blackpool,” he said.
Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould said that SouthDoc has shown a lack of respect for his constituents who deserve “healthcare” and “transparency”.
Deputy Gould said:“The HSE has committed to pursuing a full reopening of the SouthDoc facility formally. I hope this means an investigation into the contract and particularly €7.3m of state money being spent on a service that’s not been provided for 13 months and remains essentially shut. The Public Account Committee will be, at my request, questioning them on this in the coming weeks.”
Deputy Gould urged his constituents who need SouthDoc’s services to ask to be seen in the Blackpool facility and to contact his office if refused treatment at the Blackpool centre.