The opening hours for Tuam Primary Care Centre are not fit for purpose and the HSE nationally needs to sort out the problem as a matter of urgency.
We have a ridiculous situation whereby Tuam Primary Care Centre closes at Saturday lunchtime and does not open on Sundays.
I am calling on the HSE to renegotiate the contracts they have with the Primary Care Centre operators in order to rectify the situation without delay.
Patients cannot be expected to time their medical needs to suit the facilities management of the centre. The Primary Care Centres were supposed to take pressure off the hospitals. This an even more acute problem in Galway East while we wait on plans for the new A and E at University Hospital Galway and the new 50-bed unit at Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, to come to fruition.
The Primary Care Centre operators are dictating when centres open and close. Their operation should be patient-led.
The HSE nationally, which signed the contracts, needs to get back in charge. It is not fair on the local HSE management who are having to deal with this situation.
Too much public money has been invested in these centres. It is the public that should be determining when the centres open, not private companies.
This affects Primary Care Centres nationally. The HSE should intervene to ensure that our services follow the needs of patients and not the administration of buildings.
Tuam Primary Care Centre opened for services in December 2017. The 2,500sqm facility was part of a 14-project Public Private Partnership programme to provide Primary Care Centres around Ireland.