the launch of a €7.8 million Primary Health Care facility for Newbridge, which will be built over the next 12 months and will create 250 construction jobs locally, has been described as a “great day for the town”.
The new facility will be located on a one-acre site beside St Conleth’s Vocational school and will employ a further 100 people once opened.
It was also called a “happy merger” between health and education at the official contract signing last Friday, January 6.
The campus, which will be built by Kilcock-based Sammon Contracting Ltd, will provide a one-stop healthcare service, including GP and HSE services.
It will also have offices, training rooms and a state-of-the-art gym for Kildare VEC.
“This is about bringing GPs together in a community to provide health care services,” said Dr Maurice Cox, CEO of Centric Health, who provide the main primary care, along with Clarington Primary Care and the HSE.
“It will make it easier and improve access for all patients in Newbridge to get access to healthcare.
“It will take the pressure off the hospital and reduce the number of times a patient has to go to hospital. This is a great day for Newbridge.”
The three-storey facility will incorporate several medical consulting and treatment rooms, dental treatment rooms, an occupational assessment room, a pharmacy, speech and language therapy rooms, a physiotherapy gymnasium, a children’s health room and a cafe.
The third storey will be a purpose-built further education facility for the VEC.
CEO of the VEC Sean Ashe thanked Kildare VEC for encouraging him to “think outside the box”.
The VEC exchanged the land for the sports hall and further education centre in a deal worth €1.5 million to the educational body.
“We’ve had a long journey,” he said. “It is an achievement to get this underway in the centre of Newbridge during the current climate and people should not underestimate the work that went into it.”
Chairman of the VEC, Cllr Paddy Kennedy said it was a “positive story” for Newbridge.
“It is providing new jobs and a great service for Newbridge,” he said. “It will also provide a much-needed gym for the school.”
Project manager for the HSE Niall Bowen said that the HSE will lease the facility for the next 25 years from Sammon Contracting Ltd.
“The whole idea is to take the pressure off Naas Hospital,” he said. “This will be for the people of Newbridge to bring primary health care into the community rather than it being hospital-based.”