Construction is set to begin in two weeks time on the longawaited Primary Care Centre in Clonbrusk, but 15 acute beds will be cut at Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe, latest HSE service plans indicate.
Just prior to going to press (Tuesday evening) HSE management confirmed at a meeting in Tullamore to discuss the 2012 regional service plan for the the HSE Dublin/Mid- Leinster area which includes Athlone, that work will finally begin the long-running project in a fortnight.
Back in January, amid growing uncertainty about the future of the project this paper revealed that the agent and architects of the project on behalf of Ath Medical Partnership maintained that the job was going ahead as early as March after contracts were signed with the HSE.
It thought up to 100 people could be employed on the 1.22 hectare site once work begins on the two-storey primary, community and continuing care health centre comprising of 4,330 square metres, down from the 6,000 plus square metres from the original planning proposals which were scrapped in 2010 due to a lack of funding.
The smaller-scale project came about after the HSE put a portion of the site up for sale in the early part of 2011, on the condition that a developer would build a primary care centre and lease it back to the HSE.
A Roscommon-based contractor is already in place to build the centre.
Among the services earmarked in the new primary care facility include outpatient services, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, podiatry/chiropody, mental health outpatient services, dentistry and pediatrics with designated children's health area, GP suites and MIDOC services.
Meanwhile, there is good and bad news for the HSE West region in the 2012 service plan, also published on Tuesday. A further 15 acute beds look set to be cut at Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe during 2012 with eight taken out of the system in Galway and a further 10 gone in Sligo.
However, a medical assessment unit will open in Ballinalsoe during the year, along with the provision of high support hostel accommodation for 12 residents with intellectual disabilities currently at the nearby St Brigid's Hospital campus in the East Galway town.
In other developments in the region, the plan indicates that the long mooted Monksland Primary Care Centre will open its doors for business during the next twelve months and endoscopy services will be upgraded at Roscommon Hospital over the same period.
The annual digital subscription of the Westmeath Independent is 60% cheaper than an annual postal subscription. Click here to subscribe-it's a great gift.