Just one of the 35 primary care centres promised by then Health Minister James Reilly in July 2012 is operational according to information provided to Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher.
Deputy Kelleher said, “When the projects were announced as part of domestic infrastructure stimulus we were told that ‘procurement of the health projects will commence by end 2012 with construction starting in 2014’.
“However, only the Primary Care Centre in Kells, Co. Meath is actually up and running. Indeed that was up and running when I sought information on the projects this time last year.
“Last year I was also told that Balbriggan – the choice of which generated such controversy in 2012 – would be up and running in the first quarter of this year. However, construction was only completed in the second quarter of the year and it is yet to open. Hopefully it will be operational before the end of this quarter.
“As for Swords, five years on, expressions of interest have been received and are ‘currently being reviewed’.
“The Department of Health is now projecting that some sixteen of the projects will become operational over the next eighteen months. While a degree of scepticism has to be maintained over such projections, it is critical that these centres are actually delivered.
“Fianna Fáil believes that primary and community care must form the bedrock of our health system. Robust and active primary and community care is seen as playing an essential role in enhancing health outcomes and limiting costs.
“It is within this setting that we should seek to meet 90-95% of all health and personal social service needs. However to do this we need the infrastructure in place. The pace of delivery on this over the past five years has been disappointing to say the least,” concluded Deputy Kelleher.