DISUSED GARDA STATIONS and other vacant buildings could soon be used as primary care facilities, according to the Minister of State for Primary Care Róisin Shorthall.
Shorthall said there had been “very little progress” made in providing good quality accommodation to primary care teams so far, who had until recently been operating under a 2001 strategy.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme, Shorthall said that “any empty buildings suitable for conversion”, including vacant garda stations, would be considered for use a primary care centres.
She said there would be engagement in some building works, and that an application for a €50 million annual building allocation would also be made.
Noting that there was “severe budgetary pressure” on the health service, Shorthall expressed the need to move activity “out of hospitals and into the community”.
“People should be able to receive about 90 per cent of their health services at local level,” she said.
Some €20 million has already been made available for primary care recruitment in this year’s budget.