New dawn for Port health services

community groups in Portarlington were given a preview of the new centre for Portarlington Primary Care which is set to radically revamp local health services.

community groups in Portarlington were given a preview of the new centre for Portarlington Primary Care which is set to radically revamp local health services.

The Port primary care team centre is currently based on Port’s Main St but will be moved to the newly renovated Kilnacourt House this July. A meeting was held last Wednesday to inform community groups about the new centre and its facilities, and to “forge greater links with the community”.

The Primary Care Centre is well established in the town and has been in existence since 2003. It is hoped that the centre will be able to provide more services locally and that all involved parties will work together as a team. Primary Care development officer Carol McCann spoke at the meeting.

“95 per cent of the main issues people have can be dealt with, with a full team in Primary Care,” she told local people.

The new centre will include offices and meeting rooms, community welfare, treatment rooms, dental services, and parking, which is a problem with the centre’s current Main St location. Services available in the centre will include a GP, public and community nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, home helps, health care assistants and administration staff. There will also be a dietician, a speech and language therapist and community health clinics. Although a lot of these services already exist in the town, now they will be under the one roof in Kilnacourt House in custom built treatment rooms.

Ms McCann told the audience about the background behind the Primary Care concept. She said that as well as medical problems, the centre will also look at influences on peoples’ health such as where they live, whether they work or are unemployed and what social outlets they have, making sure all elements work together to ensure the patient gets the best care. The meeting also provided an opportunity for community groups to have workshops and give their opinions.

Speaking afterwards, Ms McCann said that there was great feedback from those present. “The meeting went really well, there were both negative and positive aspects discussed”. The centre staff, along with community groups, plan to fundraise for a drop in centre for older people as well as a social daycare centre.

The meeting heard that the centre will operate alongside existing GP services, although a GP will be based in Kilnacourt House. People will still continue to go to established GPs in Port who can refer their patients to the new centre. Ms McCann said the public would be able to go directly to the primary care team for physiotherapy, speech and language and other services.

A number of individuals volunteered as well as community groups such as Port GAA club and the Active Age retirement group. For more information on the centre contact 057 86 45038.