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Primary Care Centre

New Location For Primary Care Centre.

So it has been discovered that the location at the doors of Monaghan General Hospital is not suitable for the promised new Primary Care Centre for Monaghan and that it will now be situated at St. Davnet’s Complex. The HSE announced this at a Council Meeting last Monday and the Councillors were ‘shocked’, ‘dumbfounded’, ‘shocked’ and ‘disappointed’ according to the Northern Standard. That says a lot. What did they expect? Why did they not listen to Monaghan Alliance.

Our first reaction to the announcement of the Primary Care Centre back on 30th April 2013 was: First of all let me ask – do they really think we will believe them? We have no trust in the HSE or the Government in relation to health. Michael Martin and James Reilly both stood before the people of Monaghan  and promised that Monaghan would not be downgraded – but it was. The invested millions in upgrading Monaghan hospital and told us that they could not downgrade it after this money was spent – but they did. They promised us a 24/7 Minor Injuries Unit to replace the A & E but then they reduced the opening hours. They promised a First responder in his/her own vehicle to get to emergencies fast – first they took the car away and then the Advanced Paramedics. One Advanced Paramedic might have to cover Monaghan, Cavan and part of Louth. One emergency in Emyvale heading for Cavan had to wait till an Advanced Paramedic met them at Clones. Now  Monaghan Hospital has lost all its ancillary services like labs, stores, kitchen, etc and they expect us believe that this Primary Care Centre will be a massive injection to Monaghan General Hospital. . But what is new here other than location? If your doctor is still in his present surgery you will still go to your own doctor – so what addition the Primary Care Centre, unless all doctors in Clones, Ballybay, Blayney, Monaghan and Emyvale set up shop in this new Centre. Will it only open 9 to 5 Monday to Friday? So what is new there either?

In May 2013 we wrote: Mr Hand claims this is a new concept in the delivery of health care and the first in Ireland. The people of Monaghan are becoming used to being the guinea pigs – we were the first to be downgraded and to lose our A & E and the first General Hospital to be converted to a day hospital and the first hospital with no kitchen, the first hospital where patients were fed with take-away food as it were, and we know how successful all this has been when Monaghan Patients lie on trolleys in Cavan and Drogheda because of overcrowding, when loved ones languish in unfamiliar surroundings among strange people and can only have a rare visit because of the journey and time involved, when patients in emergencies have to wait so long for hospital treatment that some of them do not survive, when people do not go to the doctor until it is too late because they do not want to be sent off to this distant hospital, when patients wait and wait for months to get an appointment with a Consultant.
On the 6th March 2014 we wrote: What ??? – A NEW Primary Care Centre for Monaghan? Another NEW Primary Care Centre for Monaghan?? Boy! we are really being well treated and someone is really looking after our wants and needs!!
You will have gathered by now, I’m sure, that I am being sarcastic but it is difficult not to be in the circumstances. You see Brian Cowen made a big splash withb his Government when he, with trumpets and clarions blaring and flash-bulbs firing and shutters snapping, came to Monaghan a few years ago and OPENED the NEW Primary Care Centre for Monaghan. It was sited at St. Davnet’s and was the old Nurses’ Home. However it never got a GP in there to work and although many offices were set up and a number of people transferred from other offices into the Primary Care Centre it never really became a Primary Care Centre. And so the Question is – where or what is it today? And why are they building another one?

The NEW Primary Care Centre is being planned for the front door and car-park at Monaghan General Hospital. What added services will it provide for the patients of Monaghan? – Answer – nothing more than we already have except that some of them will be in a new location. There will be no new services and possibly less as they will centralise some services and so fewer providers and longer queues. The big loss to patients of Monaghan has been the emergency services, which the ambulance service cannot replace because of the distances involved in getting to the scene and then getting to the hospital. Lives have been lost as a result and the Primary Care Centre will make no difference. At the moment there are no GPs signed up to work there and without doctors it will be just another office block, which would make better money on the market when they come to sell it off. But GPs have office hours – 9 to 5 five days a week. Will the NEW Primary Care Centre provide GP services 24/7? It will have accommodation for outpatients is rather confusing – as outpatients go home and accommodation is only needed for in-patients?? The people of Monaghan need not get too excited regarding the announcement of the new Primary Care Centre made by the HSE. Some time ago there was great hoo-hah and hubbub regarding the opening of a Primary Care Centre at St. Davnets – where is it now, is it open, are there any GPs there, did it make any difference?

In July 2016 we wrote to Senator Gallagher as follows: In reply to your article in the Northern Standard regarding your intervention in the Seanad to progress the Primary Care Centre at Monaghan General Hospital. The push to get a Primary Care Centre there is ridiculous when one considers the benefits it might bring to the people of North Monaghan. We must remember that there already is, or rather, has been a Primary Care Centre for North Monaghan, opened, with great bualadh bos and media coverage, by Fianna Fail. What benefits did it bring? Where is it today? Do we want another white elephant’?

Gp’s have not bought into this proposed Primary Care Centre and even if they were to do so – it would have the GP hours of opening – 9 to 5 Monday to Friday. At the moment we cannot get a proper, efficient, and workable Out-of- hours Doc to meet the needs of the people of North Monaghan. The PCC will do nothing to improve that. Sure there will be offices for all the therapies but few therapists , diagnostic equipment but few to make the diagnosis. People, who are sick and weak, will have to park down town, pay parking charges, and then negotiate the Hill, which is tough for an able bodied person. The little car park at the rear will not facilitate all that would be needed. Do we expect all the people who currently attend their ‘own doctor’ in the present surgeries to change to attend whatever GP is set up in the PCC? What benefits will the PCC have for patients who remain with their present doctor? The question is – what benefits can it bring to the patients of North Monaghan?

Acute services and emergency services were removed from Monaghan General Hospital causing all such cases to travel to Cavan or Drogheda. The PCC will make no difference to them. They will still have to take their chances of staying alive long enough to reach that other service.  It is emergency services that are really needed and not a useless PCC but it sounds good and convinces people that the HSE cares for them.

Other countries are more concerned about providing emergency services to isolated areas and rural communities. We are told that a patient’s life is in danger if not taken to a proper A & E yet the same consultants of emergency medicine agree that lives are being lost due to overcrowding in A & E’s all over the country. Staff are unable to cope with the numbers, mistakes are being made, misdiagnoses are happening, treatment is being delayed till it is too late, there is a loss of dignity and privacy for patients and there are needless deaths. Monaghan patients are among these.

So, instead of investing millions in a Primary Care Centre lets have more GP’s and Nurses and return Monaghan to an A & E to take 90% of the cases now travelling to Cavan/Drogheda to sit on chairs and lie on trolleys and put their lives in more danger of picking up infection, of delayed treatment, of not making the hospital in time to save their lives. Some of the councillors showed that they consider these services more beneficial to Monaghan patients.

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