Frustrated residents in Kinsale have started a petition calling for the full restoration of the SouthDoc service in the town.
By Kieran O’Mahony
FRUSTRATED residents in Kinsale have started a petition calling for the full restoration of the SouthDoc service in the town.
At a large public meeting in Acton’s Hotel in Kinsale on Monday night, organised by Declan Cashman and attended by local public representatives, several people spoke of their frustration that the service was withdrawn in 2013 without consultation.
At present, people contacting SouthDoc are being directed to go to Bandon, which is 10 miles away, and those in attendance called for a standalone service in Kinsale to serve both the town and the surrounding areas.
Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony (FF) said that this is ‘a matter of life and death’ and that SouthDoc is a great service when run properly.
‘The HSE need to make sure Kinsale has 24-hour cover and that funding needs to be sanctioned by Minister Simon Harris,’ said Deputy O’Mahony.
Cllr Gillian Coughlan said the removal of SouthDoc was ‘another clawback’ on services.
‘We need to ask why was it taken in the first place? And in a town where maritime business is huge, the likelihood of accidents is even higher,’ she said.
‘The patient should come first, not the budget, but that is what’s sorely lacking here,’ said Cllr Coughlan.
Senator Tim Lombard said he is fully supportive of the petition and pointed out that out-of-hours access to medical assistance is an important infrastructure supporting the welfare of our society.
‘Kinsale has an ever-increasing residential population, a huge tourism interchange, a very active harbour and marine industry, as well as a large rural district. While the Bandon/Kinsale SouthDoc provides an excellent service, the physical base is geographically too far to suit the unique and increasing needs of Kinsale’s growing community,’ said Senator Lombard.
‘What was made apparent throughout the meeting was not only the desire but the need for SouthDoc services to be reinstated in Kinsale. The physical infrastructure is available locally but the service is not,’ he told The Southern Star.
Cllr Kevin Murphy, who raised a motion calling for the restoration of the service at a full Council meeting in February, said it wasn’t good enough that people could be waiting hours to access the mobile unit.
Local doctors also spoke at the meeting and said that they had no input into the decision that the service would be moved to Bandon.
Declan Cashman said that they would hold another meeting in a month’s time for an update from the political representatives.
Mr Cashman also urged the people of Kinsale and the surrounding areas to sign the petition calling for the full restoration of SouthDoc in Kinsale.