A €10 million primary care facility is to be located on the site of the Shantalla Health Centre.
The HSE West is awaiting capital funding to carry out a pre-planning survey for the development.
The health authority recently invested almost €50,000 in upgrading the current facility, a meeting of the HSE West regional health forum was told this week. This was in the areas of speech and language therapy, public health nursing, and physiotherapy.
Its aim was to create a better environment for the provision of services for both staff and clients, Tony Canavan, the chief officer of the HSE’s Community Healthcare Organisation outlined. He said prior to this, the dental area had been upgraded.
His comments came in the wake of Fine Gael city councillor Padraig Conneely highlighting the “dilapidated” condition of the existing facility. He said it was not “fit for purpose” and he had been requested by staff to visit it.
Hitting out at the HSE West for expecting staff to work in such conditions, he said if hospital consultants had to work there they would “crying” from the rooftops and would be voicing their disapproval on the breakfast news programme Morning Ireland. Yet “ordinary, hardworking staff” were supposed to work there, he stated.
Tony Canavan, the chief officer of the HSE West’s Community Healthcare Organisation, pointed out that the building was a “long way short” of what the health authority wanted.
He said there were 14 primary care centres in Ireland, five of which were in Galway, Mayo, and Roscommon. The HSE was “very clear” in identifying Shantalla as the location for a primary care centre for that area of the city.
Its proximity to University Hospital Galway, the fact that there was a “fair bit of room there” and that it was in the “heart of the city”, were major factors in this decision, he explained. The HSE’s assessment of the proposed project indicated there was a “significant” advantage for patients in locating the centre on this site.
He said it was not a “small scale development” but it was the health authority’s ambition to develop a primary care centre there. While funds were not currently available there was a “very strong will” to do this.
Mr Canavan concluded that a detailed proposal on the issue would be prepared this year.