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Non operational care centres with no additional staff or services provided in failed Fine Gael Primary Care Plan – Brady

13 March, 2017 - by John Brady TD

Sinn Féin TD and Social Protection spokesperson John Brady has today reacted to the news that only 1 of the 35 promised primary care centres is operational by calling it another “failed Fine Gael plan”. The Wicklow TD said that with only one centre operational and plans for additional staff in only one centre and no extra services meant that it was clear that this Government were only paying lip service to primary care.

Deputy Brady said:

“On the issue of primary care, the Programme for Government states that ‘The funding commitment for 80 additional primary care centres has been secured. Priority should be given to the staffing of primary care teams for timely and appropriate levels of care for patients. We support the commencement of these projects.’

“Today’s revelations on the lack of operational centres, coupled with the miserly plans for primary care in the HSE Service Plan, are indicative of another failed Fine Gael plan. It is evident that this Government are only pay lip service to primary care in our communities.

“We are seeing only one operational primary care centre since the announcement of 35 centres 5 years ago. Coupled with this, the 2017 HSE Service plan proposes that, of the 24 primary care facilities due to be operational this year, there are only 42.8 WTE planned and that is to facilitate the 15 additional beds that will be operational at the palliative care development at University Hospital Kerry. In terms of primary care development teams, there isn’t a single additional staff member provided for, no additional nurses, therapists or physiotherapists. 

“This Government are great on making announcements, but fail miserably in follow through.  If primary care was so important, then why are they not expediting the opening of these centres? Why are they not extending capacity by expanding staff and services? With no additional staff, how are we to see reductions in waiting lists? How can we expect to take pressure off the acute hospitals? How can we expect to have a greater range of services in the community if the HSE aren’t hiring or budgeting for them?

“The persistent under-resourcing of primary and community care means people end up in hospital when they should and could be cared for in the community. Fine Gael are failing the people of this State once more with another failed plan and it is important the Minister answer to why these centres are not operational with the necessary cohort of staff and services to ensure the needs of our communities are met.” 

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