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Busy seasonal period for out-of-hours services

From 21 December to 2 January, NEDOC facilitated 3,500 patients in treatment centres, while more than 1,300 received advice from a nurse.

Some 240 patients were seen at home and 155 patients received advice from the duty doctor.

The number of calls was down from the 2017 figure of over 6,000 patient contacts, but the number of patients seen by GPs was virtually the same, at 3,600.

Of the 5,300 calls to NEDOC, it managed 85 per cent through its service, with only 15 per cent, or over 750 patients, requiring emergency department referral.

NEDOC generally manages 85-to-88 per cent of all calls within its service, according to a statement on its website. It covers counties Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath.

In the statement, NEDOC noted that over 200 local daytime GPs participate in the service.

These GPs work in their own surgeries during the Christmas season, as well as in the OOH service.  

“Local GPs commit to an increased roster at Christmas/New Year in order to meet an anticipated demand from patients who are unwell during this time and to minimise their waiting times.”

Meanwhile, at Southdoc, which covers counties Cork and Kerry, more than 13,600 cases were managed between 22 December and 1 January.

The service reported a 7.5 per cent rise in the number of attendances by children aged under six years compared to the same time period in 2017.

Under-six attendances were up by 21 per cent when compared to attendances in 2014, when the under-six doctor visit card was not available.

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