CONCERN about the lack of a definitive starting date for the proposed Primary Health Centre in Kilrush has been expressed by a local Dáil deputy.
Sinn Féin TD Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne is calling for more concrete commitment and action to be taken to ensure community health care services continue across rural Clare.
The Sinn Féin deputy’s comments came following a vague and non-committal response from the Department of Health concerning the development of the promised Primary Health Centre in Kilrush two years after it was officially announced.
“The fact that this new Primary Health Centre was announced in March of 2019, but the HSE are still effectively refusing to commit to any concrete action or development two years down the line is unacceptable,” said Deputy Wynne.
“We all know that various developmental projects have been stalled as a result of the pandemic but the HSE’s response to any questions seeking clarification about projected timeline are unnecessarily vague and seem to be back-peddling on the previous commitment.
“The distinct lack of certainty surrounding the fruition of this centre is compounded by degeneration health services elsewhere in the constituency.
“Shannondoc services have been curtailed, with a lot of conflictual information circulating online, leaving many people unaware of where their nearest Shannondoc service is and its hours of operation.
“Before I became elected, I voiced concerns about how there would be delays in the follow through of the Kilrush Primary Health Centre and unfortunately, I was right.
“Clare needs consistent, well-resourced, primary health care to be developed across the region as we don’t have access to an Emergency Department in the county.
“If this pandemic has shown us anything, it is that proportionate, timely access to healthcare is extremely important.”
Helen Duggan Head of Mid-West Primary Care Services stated a review of the HSE’s current facilities, accommodation deficits and overall requirements for the area is due to be undertaken to support the business case for new Primary Care Centre accommodation in Kilrush.
Ms Duggan outlined this work has been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, she added the HSE remains fully committed to completing the review of current facilities, accommodation deficits and overall requirements for the area.
This issue was also raised by Councillor Cillian Murphy at a recent
HSE West Forum meeting where he questioned whether services in the new health centre would reduce the amount of non-urgent calls the ambulance service usually deals with.
The Fianna Fáil Councillor asked has a review of this project actually started and when could he expect the completion of a report on the centre.
He expressed concern that the HSE may make a decision on progressing the centre after the review, as this could result in two possible outcomes – one where the centre would not proceed or is it a case it will go ahead but when?
Chief Officer, Mid West Community Healthcare, Maria Bridgeman outlined expressions of interest were sought for potential Primary Care Centre Accommodation for the HSE in Kilrush back in May 2019 and a number of submissions were shortlisted for sites.
The key driver for securing such a primary care accommodation solution would be to enable the co-location of primary care services at a single site.
“A review of current facilities and overall accommodation requirements for the area is due to be undertaken in the first quarter of 2021. This review has been delayed somewhat due to the current Covid-19 emergency.
“In the intervening period some of the primary care therapy services have relocated from Regina House to the existing Health Centre building in Kilrush.
“Once the review has been completed a decision will be made regarding the progression of the project and a timeline could then be established.”
by Dan Danaher