SouthDoc in Blackpool is to reopen on Monday.

Three mile walk to see doctor

The reopening of SouthDoc in Blackpool has been welcomed amid news about a parent and two children walking from Farranree to SouthDoc at Kinsale Road.

The out of hours service had been closed since March, and while other SouthDocs around Cork and Kerry had reopened, the northside SouthDoc stayed shut with Kinsale Road SouthDoc facilitating patients from the northside.

Correspondence from Cork Kerry Community Healthcare (CKCH) said CKCH was advised by SouthDoc management that the centre at Blackpool will be reopened and available to patients from mid-January 2021.

“Their current planned operational date is the week commencing 18 January and they committed to contacting the HSE if there is any change to that plan due to Covid related issues,” the correspondence said.

Many politicians were unhappy about the centre being closed such as Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould who kept the item on the national agenda.

Northside-based GP John Sheehan welcomed the news but said he would be seeking clarification on what services will be put in place when it reopens on Monday. Dr Sheehan told the Cork Independent that he was aware of a parent having to walk to the Kinsale Road SouthDoc from Farranree with two children. The Fianna Fáil city councillor said: “I was told about a parent and two small children who walked from Faranree to SouthDoc at Kinsale Road which is a huge distance. They didn’t have enough money for a taxi. It is unusual as most of the calls are done over the phone now with Covid-19 restrictions. It highlights the need that should there only be one SouthDoc for Cork city it needs to be in a central location that’s accessible by public transport and it can’t be inaccessible unless you have a car.”

Solidarity TD Mick Barry welcomed news that SouthDoc Blackpool will reopen but warned that there must be a full service provided when it reopens.

The Cork North Central Deputy said: “The people of the northside will not accept a skeleton service."