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What does Shannondoc Do?


Shannondoc is a cooperative set up by the General Practitioners in the Mid-West in partnership with the Health Services Executive Mid-West. Its purpose is to provide enhanced out-of-hours service to patients, improved quality of life for doctors and preserve rural general practice.


Is Shannondoc an Emergency Service?


Shannondoc is not an emergency service. For emergencies it is always best to contact the body trained and equipped to handle them (Ambulance, Fire Service, Gardai and Coastguard.). Having said that, the Emergency Service will often contact Shannondoc for assistance where they need the services of a doctor and Shannondoc is happy to provide that assistance. There may also be some instances where, because of our geographic location, Shannondoc may be in a position to react faster to an emergency and in these cases we are happy to do so. If you are not sure what to do, you should contact Shannondoc for advice and if necessary we´ll contact the ambulance service for you.


Can anyone use Shannondoc?


Patients of member doctors can use Shannondoc. Doctors who are not members of Shannondoc make their own arrangements to provide out-of-hours cover for their patients. We are also happy to treat Visitors/Tourists.


For what problems should patients call Shannondoc?


Shannondoc´s purpose is to provide patients with the medical care necessary to treat conditions that require urgent help or treatment that cannot safely wait until the patient´s own doctor´s surgery is open. Therefore Shannondoc should not be used to provide treatment for routine, recurrent or non-urgent medical requirements and particularly not for repeat prescription requests unless a patient has run out of a medication without which they might be at serious risk in the short term.


How do people with urgent needs contact Shannondoc?


When patients ring their own surgery outside normal GP working hours the surgery´s answering message will give the telephone number on which to contact Shannondoc. The number patients are given to ring Shannondoc is 1850 212 999. The call will be answered at the Shannondoc Operations Centre at St. Camillus Hospital in Limerick where experienced call handlers are on duty.


How can Shannondoc help patients who call?


The patient´s details are taken and entered onto the computer database and then passed on to one of the Nurses on Triage duty. The Triage nurse will then ring the patient back to discuss the problem in detail and help in one of the following ways:

 

  • The Triage Nurse may give advice as the suitable management of the patient´s problem over the telephone if the Nurse believes that there is no need for the patient to be seen at this time by a doctor.
  • The Triage Nurse may book an appointment for the patient to attend one of our treatment centres.
  • The Triage nurse may refer the patient to a doctor for further advice.
  • The Triage Nurse may advise the patient to stay at home while arrangements are made for one of the Shannondoc doctors on Mobile duty to make a home visit if the Triage nurse believes that the patient´s condition does need to be clinically assessed and that deterioration in the patient´s condition could be caused by travel to a Treatment Care Centre.
  • Occasionally the Triage Nurse may feel that a problem requires very urgent admission to hospital and will arrange for an emergency ambulance to be sent and may also send a Shannondoc doctor.
Note: If a patient is given telephone advice and later feels that circumstances have changed the Triage Nurse will always accept a further call for reassessment of the situation.


What happens at the Shannondoc Treatment Centres?


When patients have been given an appointment to attend one of the Treatment Centres their details will be sent there by computer immediately and patients should ensure that they arrive for their appointment time. Patients are seen in complete privacy and if admissions to hospital are necessary this can be arranged directly from the Centres.


What if a patient needs a home visit from Shannondoc?


If the Shannondoc Triage nurse decides that a patient needs a home visit the necessary arrangements will be made by Shannondoc and the patient should stay at home to await the visiting doctor. The driver or doctor will often call to get directions and reassure the patient that they are on their way. The Shannondoc vehicles are driven by experienced and well trained drivers and carry an extensive range of medication and life-saving equipment. This includes defibrillators, nebulisers, foetal heart monitors and Oxygen. The vehicles are in telephone contact with the Shannondoc Operations Centre where the disposition of each vehicle is constantly monitored by the dispatcher.


Can I have a Home Visit if I want one?


Visits by Shannondoc doctors should only be expected if a patient is housebound by reason of physical disability or if their condition is such that bringing them to a clinic would result in deterioration of their condition. While we sympathise with the difficulties some patients have, we cannot offer a home visit simply to overcome a patient´s transport problem. The patient is expected to seek help from a friend or relative, or to use a taxi. The doctor may wish to speak to you on the telephone before deciding whether you need a home visit.


Why do I need an appointment? Can't I just call to the Treatment Centre?


The workload of doctors and staff needs to be planned so that there are no peaks of work and to minimise the waiting times for patients. In addition the Treatment Centres are not always staffed because the doctor and driver may have been dispatched on a home visit.


Will I be waiting long at the Treatment Centre?


Generally, No.
Patients are usually seen within 0 - 15 minutes of their appointment time. We try to see all patients at their appointment time but this is not always possible. Subsequent patients may present with more urgent conditions requiring them to be seen as a priority. Also, the doctor might be dispatched on an urgent home visit or the preceding consultation may be particularly time-consuming. In general, the waiting time is no longer than 30 minutes.


Will a patient's own GP be informed if he or she contacts Shannondoc?


After seeing the patient the doctor writes up his/her notes and these are input on the computer system and are available the next time the patient calls. Details of patient´s conditions and medical management are sent to their own GP's surgery at the start of the next working day.


How much does it cost?


Patients with a Medical card
Patients who have a medical card receive the service free when they bring their medical card with them.

Private Patients
The member doctors are independent contractors and each charges their regular out-of-hours rate while working for Shannondoc. After midnight Shannondoc operates a fixed charge policy as follows:
  • Treatment Centre Visit: €60
  • Home Visit: €90
  • Second visit in 48 hours: €30
  • Second family member seen on single visit: €30

Additional services will attract additional fees e.g. :
  • Nebuliser Treatment: €10
  • Suturing of Lacerations: €30
  • Removal of foreign bodies from Ear/Nose/Throat (ENT): €10.


What if a patient is not happy with the treatment that has been received from Shannondoc?


Shannondoc undertakes regular patient satisfaction reviews by sending out questionnaires and the great majority of patients are very pleased with the service that they receive. For concerns or comments you can:

 

  • Talk to the member of staff or doctor concerned at the time. or
  • Talk to your own doctor.
  • Contact Shannondoc office at 061 459 527. Or,
  • E-mail: shannondoc@eircom.net.


What if I am pleased with the service that I have received from Shannondoc?


Please use the same means of communicating (above) to let us know if you are pleased with the Shannondoc service. The staff are dedicated and hard working and comments are always passed on to them. This way the staff know that their contribution to the health of people in the Mid-West is truly worthwhile and that the service is working to the high standards that we believe we have achieved and now seek to maintain.


Where does Shannondoc Operate?


Shannondoc operates 11 Treatment Centres before midnight; (Ennis, Ennistymon, Hospital, Killaloe, Kilrush, Limerick, Nenagh, Newcastle West, Roscrea, Shannon and Thurles). Because of the greatly reduced numbers calling after midnight, 6 centres are kept open (Ennis, Hospital, Limerick City, Miltown Malbay, Nenagh and Newcastle West).


Are there less doctors available after midnight?


No. Fresh doctors come on at midnight in the five overnight centres. The 11 doctors who have been working go home but remain on call until 8am (9am on Saturday and Sunday) the following morning. There are fewer calls after midnight and the 5 duty doctors can generally handle them. However, if they become very busy or there is a very urgent case the doctor who has gone off duty will be called back.


How many Calls does Shannondoc Deal with?


Shannondoc deals with over 110,000 calls every year and the doctors and staff are experienced in dealing with medical problems of all kinds. All telephone calls to Shannondoc are voice-recorded for patient´s safety and a complete record of all calls received is kept.