New Primary Care Centres in Mayo need to be staffed to have full effect - Senator Rose Conway-Walsh
Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh has welcomed the opening this week of primary care centres in Westport, Ballinrobe and Claremorris.
Speaking after the official opening of the centre in Westport the Mayo senator said:
"The opening of Westport Primary Care Centre today will be welcomed by all those who work in and rely upon the healthcare system in Mayo.
"However primary care is about much more than buildings and facilities. While I am delighted that staff in these centres will have modern fit for purpose working environment I am afraid that nothing is being done to address their massive case loads.
"I was shocked to learn from a parliamentary response that there will only be one extra member of staff at each centre in the form of a receptionist. The entire point of primary care is to keep people out of major hospitals and to reduce waiting lists for outpatient procedures.
"There has been no recruitment of extra mental health nurses, physiotherapists or occupational therapists.
"This is despite the planning process for these centres beginning in 2001. The seventeen years should have been used to recruit the varied staff required to make primary care centres a success in delivering key services at a local level.
"Without the staff the primary care model simply does not work and the only changes to how healthcare is delivered in Mayo will be about bricks and mortar.
"Disabled children and those recovering from procedures in Mayo have to wait unacceptably long periods to access physiotherapy and occupational therapy. There is no reason why these services cannot be delivered in these wonderful new facilities.
"I am calling on the Government to ensure that the proper number and range of staff are hired so that these centres can do what they are supposed to do - help the frontline staff bring the required care closer to the community."