St Mary’s Primary Care Centre in Gurranabraher in Cork city was officially opened by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar.
The centre is located on the grounds of the former Orthopaedic hospital and opened to the public last October. HSE/Cork Kerry Community Healthcare services in the area have transferred to the centre on a phased basis to the landmark facility, along with four GP practices.
About 170 HSE/Cork Kerry Community Healthcare staff are now based in the centre, and this will increase to 220. About 1,200 people visit the centre every day.
Construction work began on St Mary’s Primary Care Centre in July 2016, and the project was built directly by the HSE. At 6,210 square metres, the centre is the largest of its kind in Ireland. It provides accommodation for HSE staff and GPs to work together as a team in one setting, meeting the health needs of up to 40,000 people in the locality.
The building is a centrepiece for the revitalised St Mary’s campus, and is the largest public building development on the Northside of Cork City for many years. The oral and written history of the site has been captured through a folklore project. Regarded as an important local amenity, the campus features an allotment space which will be managed by community groups. A heritage and health walking trail will also circle the campus.
An Taoiseach said, “This new centre shows that the move toward primary and community care is becoming a reality across our country. A total of 128 primary care centres are now open nationwide. We are delivering better care, closer to people’s homes in their local communities. I want to wish everyone who works here every success – doctors, nurses, therapists and administrative staff – and to thank them for bringing primary and community health and personal social care services to the community here and across Cork.”
Ger Reaney, Chief Officer of Cork Kerry Community Healthcare said he was delighted to welcome the Taoiseach to the landmark building.
“Providing facilities in a building of this quality helps us advance our vision of providing accessible, responsive, connected and high quality services valued by all. The new St Mary’s Primary Care Centre is a fantastic asset for our staff and for the population they serve. Until now, services in the North West of the city have been delivered in a number of sites scattered throughout the north city. The development of this new facility allows for the transfer of services and staff from buildings that no longer meet the requirements of a modern health service,” he said.
Teresa O’Donovan, Head of Primary Care with Cork Kerry Community Healthcare said, “We are delighted to have provided a modern facility for the population of this area, and we are proud of the finished product. I would like to thank the large number of people involved in the planning and development of this project, and also the people of the area for the patience during the construction phase.”
Four GP practices have relocated their northside surgeries to the building.
Cork Kerry Community Healthcare services now located in the facility include Mental Health Services, Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Community Dietetics, Smoking Cessation and Primary Care Counselling.
Advanced plans are also in place for a selection of hospital OPD outreach services to operate from the centre in the months ahead.
The presence of UCC in the Northside of the city for the first time ever is also being facilitated with the UCC Dental School, UCC Professors of General Practice and the UCC Centre for Urban Health Studies and Health and Wellbeing Centre all having a base in St Mary’s Primary Care Centre. UCC services will be located at the centre from this summer.