From left: Mandy Doyle, Head of Service, Primary Care, CH CDLMS; Cathaoirleach of Cavan County Council, Cllr Philip Brady; Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly; Dermot Monaghan, Chief Officer, CH CDLMS, and Ruth Woods, Network Manager, Cavan Community Healthcare Network, CH CDLMS. Photo: Adrian Donohoe

Ribbon cut on Killeshandra Primary Care Centre at last

proud Minister for Health comes to town to perform the honours

A wave of relief washed over Killeshandra last Friday as the new Primary Care Centre officially opened in the town.

The event was attended by excited locals, healthcare workers and politicians, who got a tour of the modern facilities.

The multi-million euro investment, nearly a decade in terms of delivery and double that time in the planning pipeline, will provide health services to the local community.

Speaking to The Anglo-Celt at the opening, head GP, Dr Siobhan McNamee, said: “I’m so happy to be here today and I can’t wait until next week to hopefully get into it. It was really amazing.”

The primary care services that will be provided at the centre include public health nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech & language therapy, dietetics, social work and psychology.

The facility was opened by Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, who said: “I’m delighted to be in counties Cavan and Monaghan today to officially open Killeshandra, Clones and North Monaghan Primary Care Centres. ECC is a huge investment in community healthcare services, aiming to provide more services closer to people’s homes, and provide extra services for older people, or people who live with long-term health conditions.”

He explained the facility provides “integrated healthcare", which he believes is the future for healthcare in the country.

Praising the "wonderful" healthcare professionals to be based at the centre, the Minister added: "All of these groups can work together so people will get the full care spectrum that they need.

Dr McNamee agreed: “It was great to see all of the people who work in the building because I wouldn’t have met them all before.


“I know it’s going to be great. If you want to talk to someone quickly, you just can pop over. Everybody is so excited about the building.”

The GP also highlighted how the new facility is extremely accessible for those with additional needs, including a lift as well as larger rooms which aid wheelchair users.

The new Killeshandra Primary Care Facility has been on the cards for a long time. She recalls talk and plans in 2007 when she first arrived.

"They all fell through and I thought it was never going to happen. I started looking at premises myself thinking 'Could I do that, take it on board with all the costs and everything?'”

“That took years. You look at the length of time and it was 16 years since I came and Joan [Dr Ahern] was already involved with this for years before that, it’s a very long time. It’s definitely worth investing, you need to invest for people to come.”

Giving our reporter a tour of the old premises, to make a comparison, Dr McNamee said that the building wasn't fit for purpose and was holding the General Practice back in terms of employment and the facilities available.

She began in the waiting area where a hum of conversation came from the doctors' offices and reception area.

“There was no privacy to go up and talk to the receptionist even without everybody hearing your business," said Dr McNamee.

"It’s nice to be able to have privacy and dignity.”

The staff previously ate their lunches in the reception office. However, following Covid restrictions, they were forced to dine in the waiting room.

“How could you attract someone to come and work there?” asked Dr McNamee.

Taking holidays was also extremely difficult due to the shortage of locum GPs.

She suspected some patients delayed attending the practice if the regular doctor was on holidays, leading to a backlog of patients upon her return.

Since the opening of the new facility, Killeshandra Primary Care Facility has secured a new GP, Dr Regan, who combined with Dr McNamee and Dr McBride brings the current team to three.

Dr McNamee concluded stating the new facility is a “massive deal”, which she hopes will increase footfall for the rest of the town.

“A rising tide raises all boats!”


A proud day for Killeshandra

Fianna Fáil County Councillor, John Paul Feeley, described the official opening of the new Primary Care Centre as a proud day for Killeshandra.

“This building and the services it provides are essential for the community. Providing these services close to people, in the community, is vital for our health system to support our growing population rather than always focussing on the hospital setting,” he said.

He praised the retired GP, Dr Joan Ahern, who built up the GP practice in Killeshandra and was among the chief campaigners for the new facility. “Despite less than ideal accommodation, she provided an excellent service to her community. It is also right to acknowledge the local community who kept up the fight to help put this facility in place,” said Cllr Feeley.

He also acknowledged his late colleague, Cllr Sean Smith, for his role in fighting for the investment.

Deputy Brendan Smith also pushed for Government funding for the facility and worked closely with the HSE at each stage to get the service put in place.

He welcomed the opening of the centre.

“The very substantial multi million euro investment by government in this new state-of-the-art facility will benefit patients and will provide appropriate facilities in a modern setting for all the personnel delivering health services to the local community,” said Deputy Smith.