Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly has called for a new and dedicated primary care strategy and funding, in line with Sláintecare, given there are countless Primary Care Centres without a GP, Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist, or Psychologist.
Teachta Reilly said:
“Primary care centres were heralded as a one-stop shop for people’s basic health needs outside of a hospital. However, this promise has not been fulfilled.
“Figures I received from the HSE have shown that at countless HSE primary care centres there is no GP and at many others, such as in my own constituency in Balbriggan, there is a lack of necessary staff.
“There is no GP at around 20 Centres, while over 40 don’t have a psychologist, and there is no Speech and Language Therapist or Occupational Therapist at around another 20. The list goes on and on, there is hardly a single Primary Care Centre with a full staffing compliment across the whole State.
“Due to cuts, underinvestment in staff, and a lack of government enthusiasm for locally delivered community care, the area of primary care has suffered significantly. This has heaped further pressure on hospital services.
“Primary and community care should be the cornerstone of our health service incorporating GPs, practice and community nurses, and others. It can deal with the bulk of the health needs of the population. It has lower costs than hospital care and can be delivered faster and closer to home.
“Sinn Féin in government would deliver on primary care through properly staffing primary care centres with a full complement of staff, including GPs, and other health professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and counsellors.”