A LOCAL councillor has promised to fight tooth and nail to ensure the Fermoy SouthDoc is fully maintained.
This comes as locals fear that the out of hours GP service will close due to a lack of replacement staff. The HSE has said there are no plans to cease operations of the service.
However, Fianna Fáil councillor Frank O’Flynn has called on SouthDoc to provide a long-term promise that the service will remain in place.
“The SouthDoc provides a crucial out of hours GP doctor service in the Fermoy base. This is a wonderful service here locally and we are concerned. Staff and patients are concerned. I am calling on the SouthDoc to clarify and give a long-term commitment that the SouthDoc base of Fermoy will remain in place to serve the medical needs of north Cork,” the Cork County councillor has said.
Mr O’Flynn has said fears of the medical service’s closure have arisen from staffing issues, where replacement roles have not been filled.
“The main issue here is that some positions have become available recently. They have been advertised for both Fermoy and Mallow and they are not being filled.
“There was no doctor there recently in Mallow and the Fermoy base had to look after Mallow and in another case, the Mallow base had to look after Fermoy,” Mr O’Flynn said.
Currently, the Fermoy base sees to the medical needs of people in a vast catchment area, including north Cork, areas outside Cork city South Tipperary, West Limerick and as far as Lismore in County Waterford.
According to Mr O’Flynn, the out of hours GP clinic serves a population bigger than both Limerick city and county combined.
He has stated that locals fear that they may have to travel long distances for medical assistance if the service was to cease in the North Cork town.
“There is also a fear currently that the Fermoy and Mallow base will be relocated to the northside of Cork City. There is concern and there is worry about that for patients and for staff.”
Despite Mr O’Flynn’s concerns, the HSE has said that they are not aware of any current plans to close the Fermoy base.
A spokesperson for Cork Kerry Community Healthcare has told The Echo: “The HSE currently does not have any plans to cease operation of Southdoc services in Fermoy. The HSE remains committed to providing a quality out-of-hours service, in partnership with SouthDoc in Fermoy and across Cork and Kerry. There are no vacant GP posts at present in Fermoy.