Laois community assessment Covid-19 hub set for operation

Coronavirus: Centre to focus on those with virus symptoms

Conor Ganly


Conor Ganly


coronavirus covid-19

Donation by O’Sullivan Safety of PPE to Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise

Covid-19 Community Assessment Hubs (CAHs) will open in Laois and other parts of the midlands this week to divert people with symptoms away from hospitals and GP surgeries.

The HSE's midlands response team says there will be five hubs and four testing centres operating in Midlands Louth Meath this week.

The assessment hub will operate in St Fintan’s Campus Portlaoise, Donore Road, Drogheda, Co Louth, Slane Health Centre, Co Meath, Clonbrusk Resource Centre, Athlone and the Primary Care Centre, Ballyminnion in Co Longford.

“The Clinical Assessment Hubs are being set up so that Covid-19 positive patients (confirmed and presumptive) who require a face to face clinical assessment can attend a Community-based unit as near as possible to where they live.

“The aim is to divert symptomatic patients who require medical assessment away from the acute hospital system and GP practices by providing a facility in the community in which the patient can be seen and clinically assessed by a team of Doctors and other healthcare professionals e.g. Nurses, Physiotherapists. Other members of the team include clerical support and domestic staff,” said a HSE statement.

The HSE added that the national plan identifies a seven-day service from 8 am to 8 pm. It says hubs in the midlands have opened on an initial phased basis Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm.

The HSE added that Hub teams will monitor the service demands and the opening of the CAH’s will reflect local need.

Attendance is by appointment only following a GP referral. There is no walk in capacity. The service is designed to accept referrals and to issue appointments within 24 hours, however, 48 hours has been defined as the maximum pre-booking period for safety reasons.

The outcome of an assessment at the CAH is:

1. The patient returns home with advice.

2. Referred onto a hospital.

3. Referred to a self-isolation unit.

A copy of the assessment outcome will be provided to the patient for the information of their next point of care and/or their own GP.

Testing Centres Centre will be open in Tullamore, Mullingar, Dundalk, Navan, with the capacity to open Athlone/ Longford and Portlaoise to meet the expected increased demand.

Pat Bennet Chief Officer of HSE Midlands Louth Meath Community Healthcare acknowledged the work staff are doing on the ground.

“A sincere thanks to all staff working here in this community services and hospital groups over the past number of weeks. Staff from within our organisation and staff from outside who have redeployed in.

“A number of staff have changed roles, worked weekends, worked late into the night, worked from home all to assist in the fight against this challenging circumstance. All of you are heroes, all of you are making the difference to the success of the Covid-19 fight in this country,” he said.

Community testing of Covid-19 is set to be ramped up significantly in the coming days and weeks.