The number of people contacting SouthDoc in Kerry over the Christmas period was lower than in 2019.
Across both Cork and Kerry, the number of people who contacted SouthDoc during 2020 is almost 20% lower than in 2019.
Over the Christmas period in 2019 – meaning December 24th to January 1st – SouthDoc received 2,238 calls to its Kerry centres.
Over the Christmas period in 2020, there were 1,775 calls to SouthDoc, a decrease of 21%.
55% of calls to the service over the period related to COVID-19 concerns and SouthDoc sought additional help from its doctors on December 28th.
The Tralee and Cahersiveen hubs experienced increased demand; Tralee dealt with nearly 900 calls over the eight-day period, an increase of 28% on Christmas 2019, while Cahersiveen saw 23% more calls with 141.
Kenmare’s calls (58) decreased by 30%, Killarney’s (584) were down 21% and Dingle’s (93) reduced by 14%.
However, in 2019, Listowel and Castleisland hubs dealt with 485 calls over Christmas; services in Listowel had to be curtailed during the March lockdown, after it emerged that one third of all available GPs were over 60 and therefore in the vulnerable category for COVID-19.
Only two calls were logged to SouthDoc in Castleisland during Christmas.
Farranfore-based GP Dr Eamonn Shanahan says it’s likely there will be further deaths in the coming weeks and he’s again urging people to lessen their contacts.
Kerry SouthDoc hubs, most notably Tralee and Killarney, experienced a high number of calls from January 2nd onwards, however, no data comparable with 2019 was available.