An reopening date for SouthDoc in Blackpool is due to be decided soon.

Blackpool SouthDoc talks continue

A date is due to be agreed soon on the reopening of SouthDoc in Blackpool, the Cork Independent has learned.

The out of hours service has been closed since March 2020, and while other SouthDocs around Cork and Kerry have reopened, the northside SouthDoc has stayed shut with Kinsale Road SouthDoc facilitating patients from the northside of Cork city.

Plans had been in place for the SouthDoc in Blackpool to reopen in January, but this never transpired.

Correspondence from Cork Kerry Community Healthcare (CKCH) to Oireachtas members, seen by the newspaper, had detailed how the HSE was informed on 15 January 2021 that SouthDoc had changed its position and had decided not to resume services in the Blackpool centre in the context of the sharp increase in Covid-19 numbers that were being experienced at that time.

The HSE was advised on 25 February that the Board of Directors of SouthDoc will meet shortly to plan the reopening of the Blackpool centre for scheduled appointments and that SouthDoc will revert after the board meeting with an update, including the agreed reopening date.

“The HSE is now engaging with SouthDoc on the need to develop a pathway to fully restore service in Blackpool and Listowel once public health conditions allow it to do so. The HSE remains committed to ensuring that appropriate out-of-hours GP services are available to medical card holders throughout Cork and Kerry. We will provide you with a further update on the outcome of the engagements in due course,” the letter from CKCH said.

Fianna Fáil Councillor and Blackpool-based GP John Sheehan said he was pleased that a reopening date was being planned and should be agreed to soon.

“It is encouraging to see the HSE and the board of SouthDoc engaging in a constructive manner and it is important that communication about any updates from SouthDoc and the HSE and clear and consistent. This is welcome news for the people of the northside.”

Fianna Fáil TD Pádraig O’Sullivan has welcomed the news that the HSE is engaging with SouthDoc on the restoration of services in Blackpool.

“Although by no means a green light for the resumption of services, I do welcome this progress,” he added.

Solidarity TD Mick Barry said that the Blackpool facility must reopen fully but that reopening and then providing a skeleton service would not be acceptable.