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Deputy Michael McNamara has queried a possible delay in the full opening of the Ennis Primary Care Centre. Photograph by Eugene McCafferty

Ennis Primary Care Centre to be fully operational in Q4

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IT is anticipated that the new Ennis Primary Care Centre will be operational in the fourth quarter of this year, according to a progress update provided by the HSE.

Deputy Michael McNamara recently asked the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly when the Ennis Primary Healthcare Centre at Station Road Ennis will be fully operational.

The Sonas Medical Centre, which is being operated by Dr Conor Fanning is currently operating out of the new Primary Care Centre.

A variety of services will be provided from the new Primary Care Centre when it becomes fully operational.

They include public health nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dietetics, psychology, speech and language therapy, ophthalmology, audiology, podiatry, lymphoedema, dental, chronic
diseases management, integrated care programme for older persons, community diagnostics and TUSLA.

Deputy McNamara also asked Minister Donnelly the status of the recruitment of specialist roles at the proposed chronic disease management hub and when will the hub become fully operational.

Mid-West Community Healthcare has been funded for the provision of two Chronic Disease Teams in the region, one team for Limerick and an enhanced Chronic Disease Team for Clare and North Tipperary.

The Chronic Disease Service focuses on chronic disease groups such as cardiovascular type disease, respiratory disease and Type Two Diabetes.

The teams will work and support their colleagues in general practice, primary and secondary care to develop and implement ambulatory care pathways to prevent and manage complex chronic diseases.

A total of 20 whole time equivalents have been assigned for a new Chronic Disease Team in Clare with 5.5 whole time equivalents currently in post.

A Clinical Nurse Specialist in Diabetes commenced in May and is providing a community based service in GP practices in Clare.

A Clinical Nurse Specialist in Cardiology and a Clinical Specialist in Physiotherapy in Respiratory have both recently taken up post and are developing clinical pathways for community services in these specialities.

There are a total of 1.5 whole time equivalents podiatrists in post including a Clinical Specialist who are providing podiatry services across the region.

The Operational Lead and Project Officer have both commenced work.

The HSE outlined other staff are at an advance stage of recruitment including senior and staff dieticians, diabetic clinical nurse specialists, senior physiotherapists, respiratory cardiology, clinical nurse specialists, a staff nurse and administrative support.

Deputy McNamara was told recruitment is ongoing for all grades of staff.

“The Health Promotion Services have expanded and will support the Chronic Disease services by providing additional preventative programmes such as “Making Every Contact Count, which is a programme that builds the capacity of health care workers to support and or refer patients to preventative programmes.

“Three additional Quit Mid West Stop Smoking Clinics have commenced in Kilrush, Ennis and Shannon. Minding Your Well Being, a programme specifically for people with chronic disease has commenced in the Mid-West.

“A ‘Self-Management Support Programme’ for empowering those living with a Chronic Disease to self manage their condition is due to commence next September in Ennis.”

In addition to the above posts for the chronic disease services, Mid-West Community Healthcare stated additional clinical and diagnostic chronic disease posts are being recruited for the region the UL Hospitals’ Group.

The posts include a Consultant in Respiratory Medicine with a special interest in chronic disease and a consultant in cardiology with a special interest in chronic disease respiratory illnesses alongside cardiac physiologists and administrative support.

A Senior Medical Laboratory Scientist has commenced, and with the provision of this post, NtproBNP blood screening is now available to general practitioners.

“It is difficult to say when the full Chronic Disease team will be in place as some grades of posts are proving challenging to recruit.

“It is estimated that the full roll-out of the Chronic Disease service across the country will take about three years.

“The Chronic Disease Hub will be based in the new Primary Care Centre, Station Road, Ennis,” the HSE said. “Services will be provided in a hub and spoke model across the county.

“Cardiac, rehabilitation, pulmonary, rehabilitation services, diabetes self management education services and diagnostic services will be provided within the hub and services will be provided on an outreach basis across the county where possible, including clinical review and care by specialist community teams,” the HSE stated.

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