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Some of the primary care therapy services have relocated from Regina House (above) to the existing Health Centre building in Kilrush. Photograph by John Kelly

HSE pressed on primary care centre for West Clare town

THE HSE has confirmed a review has been commissioned into the provision of a new Primary Health Care Centre in Kilrush.
Following a public announcement two years ago concerning this development, Councillor Cillian Murphy asked the HSE to provide information on the phase in the current process, a timeline for its completion and opening and an indicative list of proposed services and opening times
Councillor Murphy asked at a recent HSE West Forum meeting whether services in the new health centre will be included that will reduce the amount of non-urgent calls the ambulance service usually deals with.
The Fianna Fáil Councillor asked if a review of this project had actually started and when could he expect the completion of a report on the centre.
He expressed concern that the HSE will 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, two when it would go ahead if approved.
Chief Officer, Mid West Community Healthcare, Maria Bridgeman said expressions of interest were sought for potential Primary Care Centre Accommodation for the HSE in Kilrush back in May 2019.
This stage of the process was subsequently completed when a number of submissions were shortlisted for a variety of sites in the Kilrush area.
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 location.
“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.”
She pledged to get back to Councillor Murphy concerning his additional queries.
She welcomed the significant amount of funding that has been allocated through the enhanced community care programme this year and this will ensure the development of primary care and elderly care services.
This will have to be resourced, which requires an examination of the best model of care including accommodation requirements.
With the help of Joe Hoare from HSE Estates, she confirmed they are reviewing the situation in Kilrush and the health centre in the town.
This issue was raised in the Dáil by Deputy Cathal Crowe last year.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly confirmed five new primary care centres are being progressed in Clare in addition to the existing centre at Westbury.
Minister Donnelly outlined the development at Station Road, Ennis is expected to be completed late in 2021 and to be operational in early 2022, while a planning application was submitted to An Bord Pleanála for another centre in Ennis on the Tulla Road.
Planning permission has now been granted following an appeal for the centre at Sixmilebridge, and the developer is currently working to conclude outstanding matters.
Priced offers from potential developers are currently under review for Ennistymon, while several potential sites have been shortlisted in the Kilrush area and a review of accommodation requirements for that area is being undertaken.
Deputy Crowe described the Westbury Primary Care Centre, which he has used for his children’s developmental check-ups, as a fantastic facility on his doorstep.
“The other parts of our county also need them, and I am glad to hear they are progressing. Without a 24-hour accident and emergency department, County Clare has a higher dependency on community-level healthcare and also the out-of-hours service provided by Shannondoc.”
Deputy Crowe said there were rumours circulating on social media over the summer that these projects would not happen and that funding for them was questionable.
Minister Donnelly confirmed these projects are going ahead.
“Rumours that they have been pulled or shelved are unsubstantiated. The services to go in is a matter that will be discussed with the HSE. We try to have GPs in the primary care centres. Obviously, GPs are independent contractors and do not have to come in.”

– Dan Danaher

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