Plans to develop a state of the art Community Health Centre in Castlemartyr have been shelved.
The HSE said they have stalled the project because it would not represent “a prudent use of public funds.”
Permission for a single storey extension to the rear of the existing facility, to include a new staff area and consultant suite, was granted in January.
The plan also sought the reconfiguration of the existing ground floor plans and construction of a wheelchair accessible ramp to be installed at the front door.
For years people with mobility issues and the wheelchair bound have found it a struggle to access the service.
On foot of a query from the East Cork Journal regarding the health facility, the HSE said “when the cost of refurbishment was investigated, it emerged that the costs involved would be prohibitive, and not a prudent use of public funds.”
A spokesperson for Cork Kerry Community Healthcare said that, despite the decision not to proceed with the project, Public Health Nurses will continue to make the same home visits in the area.
He said the Castlemartyr service will be migrated to their site at Midleton Community Hospital, which is less than six miles away.
East Cork Municipality Chairwoman, Mary Linehan Foley, said she was given assurances that the redevelopment was going ahead.
The Independent Cllr, who sits on the HSE Southern Committee, said she would be raising her concerns with the Health Board Executive at their September meeting.
She said it appears the HSE are operating a policy of centralising key services such as their Healthcare facilities, and East Cork seems to be getting hit the worst.
Fine Gael Cllr Susan McCarty said she too was “very disappointed” to learn that the centre at Castlemartyr will not be re-opened at this time.
She said “While the service at Midleton is, as stated, only 6 miles away, this will make it very difficult for some users of this public health service, especially those in remoter areas around Castlemartyr.”
The Midleton based Cllr who also sits on the Cork Kerry HSE Committee said she intends to investigate the matter further at the next HSE meeting.
Liz Maddox from the Castlemartyr Family Carers and Disability group says the move “is not a good decision for the carers, elderly, disabled and home help services or mothers with young children who use the service. “
Ms Maddox questioned “are Castlemartyr, Ladysbridge, Mogeely and surrounding areas to run to Midleton to avail of services for our patients?”
“What is happening now to Castlemartyr Health Centre? Are we being told it is closing? We don’t have hours to be sitting in traffic for 40 minutes each way to pick up a pair of gloves.”
She said “Castlemartyr now has an excellent GP service and new Pharmacy in the village, yet the Health Care facilities are being watered down behind our backs.”