Health Minister Simon Harris and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe today announced the opening of the Summerhill Primary Care Centre (PCC) as part of Project Ireland 2040. A progress report on the rollout of Primary Care Centres nationwide was also published.
Project Ireland 2040 is the Government’s long-term overarching strategy to make Ireland a better country for all of us. We have changed how we invest in public infrastructure in Ireland, moving away from the approach of the past which saw public investment spread too thinly and investment decisions which didn’t align with a clearly thought out and defined strategy.
Access to a range of quality health services, in line with Sláintecare and relative to the scale of a region, city, town, neighbourhood or community, is a defining characteristic of attractive, successful and competitive places. Compact, smart growth in urban areas and strong and stable rural communities will enable the enhanced and effective provision of a range of accessible services.
Minister Harris said:
The opening of Summerhill Primary Care Centre, the largest one in Ireland, demonstrates that the move toward primary and community care envisioned by Sláintecare is becoming a reality. Our core objective is to shift the majority of care to the community setting, and this will help us reduce waiting lists and waiting times and ultimately meet our goal of improving population health.
Primary Care Centres have a key role to play in delivering on our vision of a reformed health service and are designed to deliver the right care, in the right place, at the right time.
Minister Donohoe said
It is a pleasure to be here this morning for the official opening of Summerhill Primary Care Centre. The provision of community care at this location, including dentistry, nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and social work services, is having a significant impact on the people of Summerhill and the surrounding area, because people are able to have their healthcare needs met closer to home.
The Government is committed to continued investment in the development of primary care infrastructure across the country, with further centres either being developed or in planning stages. This is guided by a recognition that that the best health outcomes can be achieved by reorienting our health services towards primary and community care settings where people’s needs can, for the most part, be met locally, with high quality acute and emergency care provided in the appropriate acute hospital settings.
There are now 127 operational PCCs around the country, and a further 12 are scheduled to be completed or become operational by the end of the year. Beyond this, there is a pipeline of more than 70 PCC projects that are under construction, in development or are at the planning stage.
The delivery of these centres in the years ahead will support other reforms identified as part of the Sláintecare plan to bring health services closer to home.
The Ministers also highlighted the expansion of services that is taking place within primary care, noting that more than €50m has been provided in additional funding in 2019 to boost capacity in the sector, including the recruitment of additional therapy staff and nurses, alongside further service development.
The Ministers pledged that there would be continued investment in both the development of primary care infrastructure and services in the months and years ahead.
Read the Department of Health's progress report on Primary Care Centres here