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In full: James Reilly's letter to Róisín Shortall about Primary Care centres

The letter was released last night and details Reilly’s explanation for expanding the lost of 20 sites for proposed primary care centres to 35, an issue which has in part led to Shortall’s resignation.

Image: Photocall Ireland

A LETTER FROM James Reilly to Róisín Shortall, who resigned as junior minister last night, outlines the Health Minister’s reasons for expanding the list of sites for primary care centres.

TheJournal.ie has obtained a copy of the letter in which Reilly details his reasons to expanding the list of 20 sites for proposed primary care centres to 35.

The letter, which emerged last night, contradicts Shortall’s previous claims that she was left in the dark about the decision to add to the list of sites including two areas in Reilly’s constituency which led to accusations of ‘stroke politics’.

Shortall resigned as Minister of State for Primary Care last night with the dispute over primary care centres proving to be the final straw in already tense relationship with the senior minister in the Department of Health.

The letter outlines Reilly’s reasoning for expanding the list of 20 sites to 35 with the Minister writing: “You presented only 20 projects for funding under the PPP initiative. If I approved your position there was a high probability that many GPs would simply decline to participate and would in effect not be able to secure the minimum 20 proposals we regard as essential to meet the requirements of the Programme for Government.”

Reilly says that following detailed analysis and discussion with the Secretary General of the Department of Health, senior officials at the HSE and Cabinet colleagues who shared his concerns, he came to the decision.

On discussions with Cabinet colleagues, he said: “A very strong consensus emerged at Government level that identifying 35 locations would stimulate and encourage wider interest and participation in PPPs in this our first tranche of developments.

“In addition it was felt that the opportunity to ensure that Primary Care centres are major active 24/7 365 care and treatment centre should not be jeopardised by local conflicts of interest, the likelihood some GPs might decline to participate or be in a position to dictate the financial terms of participation and working in new Primary Care Centres.”

In finishing the letter, he writes: “I am also pleased to have your full support as we progress to implementation” and concludes: “I trust this brings the clarity and finality to these matters.”

Read the letter in full:

Read: James Reilly on Shortall’s departure: ‘Pressure’s only for tyres’

Read: James Reilly: I wasn’t told in advance about Roisin Shortall’s resignation

Read: Róisín Shortall resigns as Primary Care Minister

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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