Broad welcome for new SouthDoc location on city's northside

SouthDoc has moved from its previous location in Blackpool.
Broad welcome for new SouthDoc location on city's northside

SouthDoc has moved from its previous location in Blackpool. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

A Cork GP has welcomed the relocation of the SouthDoc facility on the northside of Cork city.

SouthDoc has moved from its previous location in Blackpool to North Valley Business Centre on the Mallow Road.

SouthDoc management had kept centres at Blackpool and Listowel closed for more than a year during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite repeated calls from the HSE, which funds the out-of-hours GP service, SouthDoc did not reopen its clinics in Blackpool and Listowel until April 2021 and full service resumed at both locations later that year.

Speaking to The Echo, Dr John Sheehan of Blackpool Bridge Surgery said the old premises in Blackpool “wasn’t fit for purpose anymore” and said the building itself was quite old.

“We really needed a better location that is safer, warmer, and more fit for purpose. Distance-wise it isn’t a huge change from where it was so for people travelling it’s not a massive change,” the Fianna Fáil councillor said.

Fianna Fáil councillor Tony Fitzgerald described the SouthDoc service as “crucial” to the emergency health needs of patients.

The Cork City North-West councillor said: “Access and availability are crucial and I’m sure the HSE will provide a top-class facility on Old Mallow Road.” 

Meanwhile, Dr Sheehan said he believes SouthDoc will “change quite a lot over the next year or two”.

“The volume is increasing each year quite dramatically and, for a lot of people, it’s due to the fact that they don’t have a GP or they’re unable to access a GP. That has to do with the shortage of GPs on a day-to-day basis. 

"SouthDoc had become the de facto GP for a lot of people. It wasn’t set up to do that and it struggles to cope with that demand,” he said.

Dr Sheehan said keeping the number of bases operational, particularly in rural areas, as GPs retire, will be difficult.

He also suggested that there should only be one SouthDoc centre in Cork city instead of two, saying it would be “more practical”.

“It should be in a very central, accessible location. Kinsale Road is fine but if you don’t have a car it’s a nightmare to get out to and for our patients, we need to be aware of that in terms of accessibility.”

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