I propose to take Questions Nos. 83 and 157 together.
I thank the Deputy for his question and acknowledge his ongoing advocacy on this very important issue for the region and for his constituency. GP out-of-hours services for Cork and Kerry are provided by SouthDoc. The latter is a private organisation with more than 20 locations across the two counties, including a treatment centre in Blackpool that provides for patients on the north side of Cork city. Further to public health guidance and the curtailment of in-person patient consultation, SouthDoc closed a number of treatment centres from 14 March last. This was done in response to Covid-19 in order to protect both patients and staff and to limit the spread of the virus. Other than the Blackpool centre, all centres in Cork city and county have since reopened.
Cork Kerry Community Healthcare has written to, and met with, SouthDoc, requesting that the reopening of the Blackpool centre be prioritised.
Cork Kerry Community Healthcare has also requested a plan for SouthDoc to reinstate services and a timeline for this. While a timeline has not yet been received, the temporary nature of the closure has been confirmed. SouthDoc has assured the HSE that every possible effort has been made and will continue to be made to avoid or minimise any impact of the temporary closures on patients. The Government has supported the continuing provision of necessary out-of-hours GP services during the pandemic through a grant issued to service providers, including SouthDoc.