Sunday 24 September 2017

Serious failings uncovered in selection of centre sites

Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

SERIOUS failings were uncovered in the manner in which the HSE dealt with the selection of sites for primary care centres.

An audit report into the five centres in the Dublin/mid-Leinster region, said the system lacked "openness, transparency and equality of treatment".

Primary care centres are one-stop shops, accommodating various health professionals, which are built by the HSE or with private investors.

Earlier this year, they were at the centre of controversy over the selection of Balbriggan and Swords in Health Minister James Reilly's north Dublin constituency as sites for primary care centres.

The Dublin/mid-Leinster audit found:

* Significant inadequacies in the level and standard of documentation maintained by the HSE Estates (the arm of the authority which deals with property transactions).

* Submissions for sites were accepted after closing dates.

* Some of the centres were below the acceptable size and others did not have the required number of GPs signed up.

The management at the HSE Estates acknowledged deficiencies in the files but blamed a shortage of administrative staff.

The audit report warned that the leases entered into by the HSE were long-term financial commitments funded by the taxpayer. It was therefore essential, said the auditors, that openness and transparency be applied and that value for money be obtained.

Irish Independent

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