An unprecedented amount of patients are presenting to the out of hours GP service for Clare, Limerick and Tipperary.
Last weekend, a record 1,900 patients presented to Shannondoc. Additional resources have since been put in place but it is expected that numers will “increase considerably” over the Christmas period. During peak out of hours service, lengthy delays have been forecast.
A spokesperson for Shannondoc appealed for public understanding over the festive weeks and issued a reminder that it is an urgent care only service and that routine matters should be presented to GPs during normal day time hours and that any patients who have concerns about potential life-threatening illnesses should present immediately to emergency services.
“Christmas is the busiest time of the year for the Shannondoc service but we are already in the midst of a prevalent ‘flu strain and that saw us deal with 1,900 patients across the system last weekend. That is an absolutely sure indicator that the Christmas period is going to be incredibly busy for our staff and we want the public to be aware of that and the repercussions it will have for them and our staff,” Shannondoc Chairman Dr. Pat Morrissey said.
“We have brought in additional resources to deal with the inordinately high volumes but we still predict that patient numbers will be unprecedented, even for the typically busy Christmas period. This could manifest in significant delays and we ask that the public be patient with our staff in what will be a very challenging few days for them”.
Morrissey added, “The advice we give is that if it is a routine matter, please visit your own GP during normal operating times but if it is an urgent but non-emergency care issue, please contact us and we will get you the earliest possible appointment. No patients should present at a Shannondoc centre without an appointment. Shannondoc is not a Walk-in service. In the meantime, we would ask people to check www.undertheweather.ie for tips on managing common illnesses.”