Murphy calls for enhanced Primary Care services in Ballaghaderreen

In a recent Seanad exchange, Senator Eugene Murphy of Fianna Fáil highlighted the urgent need for a primary care centre in Ballaghaderreen, County Roscommon.

Speaking in the House, Senator Murphy welcomed the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy Colm Burke, and underscored the increasing demand for healthcare services in the area due to a significant population rise.

Senator Murphy noted that Ballaghaderreen has seen a population surge of 40% to 50% over the past seven to eight years. The town, located on the border of Roscommon and Mayo, has become a diverse and vibrant community, welcoming migrants from Syria, Nigeria, Ukraine, and Somalia, alongside its native Irish population. This demographic change has put substantial pressure on the town’s two doctors.

“Their patients are under pressure. We need to up the health service in the Ballaghaderreen area,” Senator Murphy stated.

He further emphasised the importance of initiating the project promptly, acknowledging existing challenges but urging for decisive action.

“It is very important that we move on boldly on this particular project and that we do whatever we have to do to get that project over the line and get it established in the next few years if we can”.

In response, Deputy Burke conveyed the Government’s commitment to enhancing primary care services through the development of centres nationwide, as part of the Sláintecare initiative.

“Primary care centres provide important primary care infrastructure, providing a single point of access to services for the individual. They also serve as a resource more broadly for the community,” Deputy Burke explained. He mentioned that 174 primary care centres have been opened to date, with ten more under construction.

The primary care centre in Ballaghaderreen is intended to be developed under an operational lease model, which typically offers better value for money and streamlined project delivery. However, Deputy Burke disclosed that the preferred provider for the centre has raised concerns about the project’s viability.

“Unfortunately, the preferred provider of the new primary care centre in Ballaghaderreen has indicated a potential issue regarding the viability of the project,” he said.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) is currently in discussions with the provider to clarify these issues. Should the provider be unable to proceed, the HSE is committed to exploring all options to ensure the project’s delivery.

Deputy Burke reassured Senator Murphy that the Government remains dedicated to establishing the primary care centre in Ballaghaderreen and continuing the development of primary care centres across the country.