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Doctors will support new €11m centre after U-turn

DOCTORS who refused to work in a new €11m health centre have dropped their objections and will start work there within a fortnight.

The state-of-the-art primary care centre, funded by taxpayers, was ready to open two months ago but doctors refused to pay a small rent to work in it.

The row involving more than 20 GPs delayed the opening of the centre, which will serve a broad range of people in West Dublin. The new facility at Cherry Orchard in Dublin will employ 150 people when it finally opens later this month.

Fine Gael TD Derek Keating said: it was "very frustrating" when doctors refused to transfer to the new centre.

"I ended up saying the HSE should readvertise for other doctors if the existing GPs didn't 'buy in' to the plan.



Relieved

"They were only asked to pay around €76 a week to treat their patients in the new centre, which included 24/7 security, heating, lighting, and maintenance. They would even be able to bring in their own private patients for treatment.

"I'm relieved it's opening. It's a wonderful facility," said the Dublin Mid-West TD.

Dentists, nurses, mental health workers, physiotherapists, social workers, child care workers and care of the elderly staff will all use the centre.

The new centre, along with other primary health centres opening around the country, will take huge pressure off hospitals.

The Irish Medical Organisation had claimed the GPs were providing a public service at the existing Ballyfermot health centres, rent free.

But the GPs finally agreed to pay up the €4,000 annual rental to use the modern facilities. Old dilapidated facilities in the region will be replaced by the new centre. The IMO said it was unacceptable that the HSE had tried to impose the changes without consultation.

The IMO relented after the HSE acknowledged the new centre did not constitute the sole place where the GPs treated patients.

The HSE acknowledged that the row was finally resolved.

A health services spokesperson said the doctors will enter into a licensing agreement.

hnews@herald.ie


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