Pivotal in ensuring SouthDoc services will return to the town of Fermoy, locals GPs explained this week that the service will be somewhat different for patients.
A group of GPs from Fermoy and Mitchelstown had an online meeting with the SouthDoc board of management last week where they presented the unanimous request of Fermoy-Mitchelstown GPs to re-open the Fermoy SouthDoc centre.
As a result, services will be returned to the town and area.
“We are very pleased that they listened to our concerns and that the Fermoy centre will be back in action in the coming weeks,” explained Dr Donogh Cotter of the Family First Medical Practice in Fermoy.
He continued: “It’s important that people understand that SouthDoc now functions very differently from before the pandemic. There is no walk-in option. You must always first contact SouthDoc by phone first on 1850 335 999. All consultations with the GP will start by phone.
“For some people we can decide what is required via a phone call and a prescription can be sent to the pharmacy directly – or you might be advised to go straight to hospital if it is clear that you are seriously unwell.
“If the doctor decides after speaking to you that a physical examination is needed, you will be brought into the Fermoy SouthDoc centre for the minimum time necessary. Reducing the duration of physical contact reduces the risk of infection to patients and staff.
“We also ask that only the patient comes into the centre, just one parent with a child or one carer if necessary.”
Meanwhile, GPs want people in the area to remain cautious to the potential spread of the virus locally.
“We all need to continue to play our part and encourage others to do so”— Dr Martin Gorman, Fermoy-Rathcormac Medical Practice
Dr Martin Gorman, Fermoy-Rathcormac Medical Practice, said: “There have been several new cases in the local area in the past week and a minority of these were from community transmission – where the source of infection was unknown and not identified as being through close contact of another positive case.
“While national figures decline and some counties have had no reported cases for the past week, there is unfortunately still a need for a high level of caution locally.”
And he urged teenagers, young people, and their parents to stick to the important guidelines on behaviour and gathering during the current phase of the Covid-19 restrictions.
He said: “With the good weather and secondary school finishing for the summer, young people may be tempted to gather in groups.
“It is so important for the people in our towns and villages who have struggled through these past months that the virus is now stamped out rather than passed on with the risk of eventually reaching older and medically vulnerable people.
“We all need to continue to play our part and encourage others to do so, we’ve made good progress, but the virus is not yet eliminated in North Cork.”
HSE guidelines state that there should be no more than four people gathering outside at any one time and that social distancing of two metres must be adhered to at all times – this requirement is for everyone, including teenagers and young people.
Meanwhile new symptoms have been added to the list of those who should contact their GP for testing
“As well as those with a cough, difficulty breathing and fever, we also now need to hear from anyone with a loss of sense of smell, or a loss or change in their sense of taste. If you develop any of these symptoms, you should phone your GP as soon as they start, don’t delay,” explained Dr Declan Herlihy of the LivingHealth Clinic in Mitchelstown.
He continued: “If a test is positive there is a short window of time to trace who else is infected to contain the spread. If you wait a few days others who have been in contact with you might unknowingly be passing it on to others.
“We have all sacrificed a lot to get the levels as low as they are now, the testing is easy, and results are back rapidly so we need to find every case and keep it from spreading.”
While restrictions may be loosened again from the start of next week the impact of Covid-19 is likely to remain with us for the foreseeable future.
Dr Elaine Lee Murphy, also of the LivingHealth Clinic, said: “We are keen to explain to everyone that GPs are available in daytime surgeries, but we do not expect to be back to business as usual for the foreseeable future. We are keen to provide for the medical needs of our patients but keep the risk of infection to a minimum so there are no walk-in visits.
“A lot more of our work will be done by telephone or video call – but where an examination, blood test, childhood vaccination or other injection is needed, we provide this in a safe way with the appropriate protective equipment.
“So, don’t be surprised to see doctors and nurses in masks and aprons in the weeks and months ahead,” she conclude.
To send us your questions just email Avondhugp@gmail.com
For all the information you need on Covid-19/coronavirus and how to self-isolate then visit HSE.ie
The GP group in Fermoy and Mitchelstown will provide weekly updates in The Avondhu on Covid-19/coronavirus advice, specific to your local area.