'It is going to benefit patients hugely' - Reilly opens primary care facility at centre of 2012 row
Former health minister Dr James Reilly has defended his role in the opening of a controversial new Primary Care Centre in his constituency, saying his efforts have shown results.
The €10m facility in Balbriggan was at the centre of a 2012 row after it was among a number of late additions to a HSE priority list.
Dr Reilly said he wants to leave the controversy in the past, adding it is important locals take ownership of the facility.
“It is nice to see concrete results from efforts you've made,” he said.
“I watched the facility going up over the last number of years and it is a very impressive landmark building in Balbriggan and it sends a strong positive message of the commitment of the HSE to the area.
“I think it is going to benefit patients hugely because of the fact you have so many medical and paramedical professionals working together with administrators to get the best result for the patients.
“It is an example to follow.”
The new centre was one of two sites in the then-minister’s constituency added to a 2012 list of locations chosen for Primary Care Centres after a final list had been drawn up by the HSE and passed to the Department of Health.
It was challenged by the Junior Minister in the Department at the time, Róisín Shortall, and eventually contributed to her resignation.
However, plans to develop the centre went ahead and it first started treating patients last year.
Mr Reilly officially opened the centre today after being given a tour of its facilities.
It offers a range of primary care services in specialist units, including; Public Health Nursing and a specialist wound treatment room.
Other services available include Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Psychology, Speech and Language Therapy, Dietetics and Social Inclusion Services.
The HSE said two GP practices have moved into the centre which has a pharmacy on site. It also offers a range of mental health services, which Dr Reilly said are a vast improvement on what was previously available in the area.
“The previous mental health facility was appalling. There were people receiving treatment in a room where mould was growing on the wall.
“This now sends a strong message that we care and we want people to get the best of care in these facilities.”