Concerns over threat to local health centres

Others may close when new Boyle facility opens

Local TDs Michael Fitzmaurice and Eugene Murphy have voiced concerns over a possible threat to health centres in Ballaghaderreen, Strokestown and Elphin.

  Independent TD Fitzmaurice said: “Proper planning needs to be put in place if it is true that a number of smaller health centres in Ballaghaderreen, Strokestown and Elphin are to close due to the opening of the new Primary Care Centre in Boyle.”

  Deputy Murphy pledged to raise concerns with Health Minister Simon Harris.

  Deputy Fitzmaurice continued: “The HSE have said that they are going to carry out a review of the operation of these smaller health centres with the imminent opening of the new Primary Care Centre in Boyle at the end of this year. If these centres do close I am calling for some joined-up thinking between the different agencies to ensure that everyone will be able to access the new services.

  “There are many elderly people who may not have transport and who live a long way from Boyle and I am proposing that the HSE liaises with local transport services to ensure that patients are able to attend the new Primary Care Centre at a suitable time.

  “The HSE need to sit down with the local transport operators to ensure that people are facilitated and can avail of the enhanced facilities in Boyle.”

  Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy is seeking urgent clarification from the Minister for Health in relation to the speculation that some rural HSE care centres may be under threat of closure when the new Boyle Primary Care centre opens to the public.

  “It’s important to point out that at this stage this is only speculation but I would be totally opposed to any move to downgrade or close a thriving rural health centre such as the one in Elphin.

  “It is a vital service in the local community and it’s also important to point out that many of the people using the centre are elderly. They may have limited mobility and transport would be a major issue if services were merged with the new primary care centre in Boyle.

  “I have tabled a parliamentary question on the matter with the Minister for Health Simon Harris this week seeking urgent clarification on the matter.”