Primary Care Centre with 5 Dental Surgeries Welcome – Imelda Munster TD

Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster has welcomed the current investment in primary care provision with the imminent opening of a major Primary Care Centre in Patrick’s Street, Drogheda. The Primary Care Centre will be based in the recently refurbished Boyne Centre.

Deputy Munster stated “this development will include five fully refurbished dental Surgeries and will restore the dental services and clinics that had been removed from the town over the last 15 months. For the past 15 month’s school children had to travel to Dundalk or Ardee to access dental services. Other much needed services such as public health nursing, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy for children and adults, psychology, a blood clinic, podiatry and ophthalmology.

Deputy Munster said “This primary care centre will provide much needed services along with the provision of Births, Deaths, and Marriage’s office and a dedicated room for civil ceremonies which will have its own entrance. It’s imminent opening will be very welcome especially as it will mean patients no longer have to travel to access dental services.

 

Travel pass to be provided for children’s dental appointments

Imelda Munster white coatSinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath, Imelda Munster, has welcomed the announcement that travel passes are to be provided by the HSE for primary school children in the Drogheda/ South Louth area who since January have been forced to travel to Dundalk, having been left without a local dental service. Deputy Munster raised this matter with the Minister in the Dáil several weeks ago, and expressed concern that many children do not have the means to travel to Dundalk, leaving them with no access to dental services.

Deputy Munster had suggested that a mobile dental unit might be a practical solution in the short term, however government Ministers had claimed that this was not possible for health and safety reasons, despite their use being widespread in England.

Deputy Munster also suggested, in the absence of a mobile unit, a HSE-run hourly shuttle bus to assist families with their travel needs, as they are now obliged to travel to Dundalk and Navan.

Eventually, the HSE has agreed to provide a travel pass for families who have no alternative means of travel, and who previously availed of services in the town but are now forced to attend either the service in Dundalk or Navan, a development which Deputy Munster has welcomed.

Deputy Munster said:

“Upwards of 4,800 children have been left without a service locally since the New Year, and a local dental service is not expected to open until June. I am happy to hear that the HSE has heeded my calls for a solution and that arrangements are finally being made to ensure that children whose families who do not have access to a car can still access dental care.”

The transport will be by way of rail, bus and passes will be issued prior to the dental appointment. Parents are asked to present to their local health centre in Drogheda with their dental appointment card to receive a transport pass. Failing that, other verification of their appointment can be used to make arrangements.

 

200 children per week left without local dental service – Imelda Munster TD

Imelda Munster white coatSinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath, Imelda Munster, raised the matter of the complete lack of dental services for primary school children in Drogheda and South Louth in the Dáil this week. Since the New Year there have been no dental clinics in operation in the area. A service is not expected to resume before June of this year, when a new clinic is due to open in the Boyne centre in Drogheda, leaving 200 primary school children per week without a local service for the next six months.

Deputy Munster:

“Upwards of 4,800 children will be left without a service locally over the next six months, since the surgeries in the Haymarket Clinic in Drogheda were closed, and the other two clinics in Ballsgrove were closed due to fire damage.”

“Primary school children are currently being referred to the Louth County Hospital in Dundalk, and to other clinics in Duleek, Ardee and Navan which is causing significant delays, disruption and gross inconvenience for children and their parents.”

Deputy Munster suggested that a mobile dental unit might be a practical solution in the short term, however Minister for State Helen McEntee, who was taking questions on behalf of the Minister for Health Simon Harris, said that this will not be possible for health and safety reasons, despite their use being widespread in England.

Deputy Munster:

“The Department’s response to my call for a mobile unit is not correct. I can only assume the Department does not want the bother or inconvenience of providing a mobile unit to cater for these children.”

Deputy Munster also asked if, in the absence of a mobile unit, a HSE-run hourly shuttle bus might be brought into use to assist families with their travel needs, as they are now obliged to travel to Dundalk, Navan and Ardee.

The Minister of State did not give a commitment on this matter, other than to say the potential for minibus transfer for patients with lack of access to transport is being explored by the HSE and that Deputy Munster can expect an update by the end of this month.

Deputy Munster:

“This situation is unacceptable. I expect the Minister to get back to me on this at the earliest opportunity. Children in Drogheda and South Louth can’t be left without a local dental service.”