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ShannonDoc prepares for festive rush

SHANNONDOC has predicted patient numbers across the Christmas period this year will be double normal operating levels.
Looking ahead to the busiest period of the year for the service, which provides non-emergency GP care outside of normal surgery hours, ShannonDoc Chair Dr Ailish Kenny urged the public to be patient as staff try to deal with the huge increase in calls.
“We normally deal with about 2,500 patients per week but that will more or less double over Christmas when GP practices will, of course, be closed for public holidays as well as weekends. Over the course of the Christmas and New Year period, we could care for approx 10,000 patients in total.
“That’s a huge throughput and a credit to all our staff. Every year the organisation rises to the challenge and our staff have been incredible over the past 20 months with Covid-19, while the public, too, have been understanding and supportive in light of the challenges facing all healthcare providers. 
“But it is going to be a very busy period and we would ask again for the continued patience of the public.
“Staff will be doing their absolute best in often trying circumstances due to heavy call volumes. If members of the public are not getting through as quickly as they would like, it’s because our team are dealing with other patients, but everyone will be dealt with.”
The ShannonDoc chair also reminded the public of the change of telephone number to 0818 123 500 and not to contact ShannonDoc if the issue is an emergency.
“It is an easy number to remember but people must ring for an appointment and it is not a walk-in service. 
“It is important, too, that people remember that the service is for urgent medical matters only but not emergencies.
“If people feel a medical issue is very serious, they need to immediately contact the emergency services by phoning 999 or 112.”
He added, “The other ask we have is that people bring their medical/GP card with them if they have one and, of course, that they follow all Covid-19 guidelines when attending for appointment.
“Above all else, we want people to stay safe and well over Christmas.”
For further information on ShannonDoc operating hours or other information over the holiday period, please go to www.shannondoc.ie.

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