Ballyragget Health Centre 'at crisis point' with no practice nurse due to lack of room

Situation is 'outrageous' says north Kilkenny councillor

Sam Matthews

Reporter:

Sam Matthews

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

Doctor

Local doctor is seeking a small building extension ‘as soon as possible’, asserting that the present building is not fit for purpose

A local GP has warned that his service is at crisis point and that Ballyragget is now the only Health Centre in the county without a practice nurse, due to a lack of adequate facilities.

Dr John Kennedy has written to the HSE seeking a small building extension ‘as soon as possible’, asserting that the present building is not fit for purpose. In his letter, he says this deficiency has been ongoing for the past 18 years since he took up the post.

Local councillor Pat Fitzpatrick has described the situation as ‘outrageous’.

“The HSE is letting down the people of Ballyragget and North Kilkenny,” he said.

“Waiting for an extension for 18 years is outrageous. They are doing everything they can to provide a good level of care, but they want to be able to do more. In order to do that, they need an extension to the existing building to provide that service.”

The matter has been compounded by the impending retirement of the practice’s only other GP, Dr Miriam Hogan.

A practice nurse is needed for tasks such as providing Womens Health Services and to carry out chronic disease monitoring. In his letter, Dr Kennedy warns of a waiting list for consultations or routine blood tests due to the lack of facilities for a nurse.

“Also, it will be almost impossible to provide the same level and standard of care in the future to equal that of other Primary Care Centres in the county,” he writes.

Cllr Fitzpatrick says that Dr Kennedy and staff are doing the best they can in the circumstances, but north Kilkenny is being deprived of essential services.

“I’m worried what the future holds for Ballyragget and the surrounding areas,” he says.
“The HSE needs to come up to the plate and not be ducking and diving on this. Why has it taken 18 years and it’s still no further on?”

In a statement issued to the Kilkenny People, the HSE said it is committed to the ongoing provision of primary and community healthcare services from the local Health Centre in Ballyragget and is ‘deeply appreciative of the role played by the associated local GP practice’.

“This extends to support provided in a minor injuries treatment capacity to local manufacturing plants. Efforts are under way to secure additional GP support to address a forthcoming retirement,” says the HSE statement.

“Other possible supports for the Ballyragget Health Centre will remain under examination.”