Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson and TD for Dublin Fingal Louise O’Reilly has said that news today that the new Primary Care Centre in Balbriggan will not have any additional staff employed is “disappointing”.
Deputy Reilly said:
“The HSE have today confirmed that there are to be no new staff allocated to the Primary Care Centre in Balbriggan. This is disappointing since former Health Minister, and now Senator, James Reilly, who controversially added Balbriggan to the list of centres, promised 80 jobs for the North County in the centre on top of the 100 jobs from the construction of the centre. What was omitted from the detail was that the jobs in the centre would be existing jobs. “It turns out that staff will be relocated from other areas and no new staff will be hired. The population in Balbriggan is among the youngest and fastest growing in Dublin and the health services are struggling as we speak. The fact that no new staff will be employed by the HSE in this centre undermines the premise of primary care and the importance of these services to the community. “This is a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul and the people of Balbriggan and the North County deserve much better than this. While it is important to have primary care centres, it is important to be cognisant that in the absence of recruitment, funding or initiatives these centres could be underutilised. A primary care centre, like small hospitals, are no good to the communities they serve unless the necessary services are contained therein with the appropriate staff. “Former Minister Reilly promised jobs and a range of services including dental services for Balbriggan but the HSE have confirmed that no whole time equivalent for dentistry is allocated to the current primary care teams who will be located into the centre. This is particularly disappointing in light of the growing waiting list for children's dental services. “The provision of primary care centres, without the provision of the necessary services within it does not equate to primary care provision. That is why Sinn Féin is campaigning for the provision of vital services and vital healthcare staff in primary care centres to ensure that there is equal access to care and to ensure that pressures are taken off our acute hospital services.”
An artist's impression of the primary care centre planned for Balbriggan.