SouthDoc received almost 1,000 more calls than average last weekend, as flu season strikes early

SouthDoc  received almost 1,000 more calls than average last weekend, as the health service in the county gets to grips with an earlier-than-usual flu season.

The out-of-hours medical service has appealed to the public to be patient, as they anticipate an equally busy Christmas and new year period.

Staff at SouthDoc began to notice a rise in the number of calls last Friday, when 505 people look for appointments with doctors in Kerry and Cork.

The figure rose to 1,518 by Saturday and peaked at 1,718 on Sunday, representing an increase of a thousand more calls than on a regular weekend.

The service also received calls early on Monday morning, from people looking for appointments that night, having been unable to get an appointment with their own doctor.

Farranfore-based GP Dr Eamon Shanahan reminded people that they should only call the service, if they believe it’s urgent and can’t wait until their own doctor is back on duty.

He says that the flu season, which normally doesn’t begin until January, has kicked in earlier this year, and is putting a strain on the service:

Anyone using the SouthDoc service is asked to have their medical card number and Eircode number to hand before making the call, and to always keep their line free so a nurse can call back.

A full outline of their Christmas and new year opening hours will be available on the SouthDoc website on Friday.