Plans for improved health care in Westmeath are continue to progress with the confirmation that the construction of new primary health care centres for Mullingar and Kilbeggan “will begin before the end of the year”.
This was revealed in reply to a question at a recent meeting of the regional health forum for mid-Leinster from Cllr Mick Dollard.
The Kilbeggan unit will be based off the link road between the town and the motorway, while the new facility in Mullingar will be opposite Loreto Convent.
Both these, along with the already begun unit in Clonbrusk, Athlone, are examples of Health Service Executive policy which diverts public money out of capital construction and more into primary care.
“All we have to cover each year is the cheques for the rent,” said a senior spokesperson for the HSE.
They confirmed that the developers for both the Mullingar and Kilbeggan units were at advanced stages of raising finance, but that because of the ‘agreement to lease’ contracts entered into with the HSE, are obliged to begin construction in 2012.
A primary health care centre is planned as a one-stop triage shop with GPs, nurses, X-ray and scan facilities, all aimed at taking frontline pressure off hospitals.
At the same meeting the HSE also gave a list of 13 other capital projects across the county that “are being progressed”.
These included the refurbishment of three wards, and completion of a nursing unit at St Mary’s, Mullingar; refurbishment of acute admissions and St Bridget’s block at St Loman’s, Mullingar; the extension and refurbishment of community houses at Tower View, Mullingar; Coralstown; Billstown, Delvin; Collinstown; Loughloe House and St Vincent’s, Athlone.