HSE to be quizzed over health centre

Primary Care Centre. Photo: Michelle Ghee. www.gphotos.ie
HSE representatives are being asked to a meetng of Longford County Council to discuss the decision locate a health care centre outside of Longford town centre.

HSE representatives are being asked to a meetng of Longford County Council to discuss the decision locate a health care centre outside of Longford town centre.

Cllr Mae Sexton said she wants answers as to why health officials chose to station the new centre at Flancare Business Park, nearly three miles from town.

Addressing the topic at a recent county council meeting, the Independent councillor also questioned the rationale behind the move, given the range of services already on offer at St Joseph’s Day Care Centre.

“It’s (primary care centre) a location that is not accessible on foot,” she said.

“You have to have a car to get there and I wonder was the centre tendered for at all?”

Ahead of the July monthly meeting, councillors were provided with a response to some of the queries outlined by Cllr Sexton.

She accepted the statement had been “lengthy” in its delivery but one that still left many issues unresolved.

“I don’t buy the argument that rental costs are currently being finalised,” she said, shortly before leading calls for an in-house meeting with HSE executives.

Cllrs Denis Glennon and Mark Casey supported the former TD in airing her misgivings.

Retired St Mel’s principal Cllr Glennon referred to his teaching days.

“One of the things we taught in geography was never to build on a flood plain,” he said.

His Independedent opposite number, Cllr Mark Casey appeared just as puzzled.

Forward thinking and what that might mean for the HSE’s budget in the future, he said, were questions that needed greater explanation.

“The whole cost of this (primary care centre) is very unusual. I mean, it’s built in an unfinished area of the town and the road that goes into it is riddled with potholes.

“Anyone with a more suspicious mind would be wondering what’s going on here,” he said.

Cllr Peggy Nolan said she had been assured the centre’s opening would not lead to a dilution of services at St Joseph’s.

“That was the first question I asked when the health centre was opened,” she said.

Her main concern was what impact, if any, the new hospital grouping patterns would have locally once they were signed off on by government leaders.