X-ray and ultrasound diagnostic facilities should be installed at the new Balbriggan Primary Care Centre, according to a local GP and Senator.

Dr James Reilly, who will officially open the new 50,000sq ft facility later this week, says the services are needed to serve 67,000 patients living locally.

The former Health Minister also pointed out that Balbriggan has the youngest population in Ireland according to Census 2016 with growth of 194% since 1991, compared to a national average of 35%.

Senator Reilly (FG) said there are 7,000 students in schools in the town, adding: “All these kids need a decent, effective local medical service, especially x-ray for the many involved in sporting activities.”

The long-awaited €10 million centre – which took six years to deliver – has 150 staff and Senator Reilly would like to see services expanded so patients can be treated locally rather than at a hospital 20 or 30km away.

He said: “Patients with, for example, a suspected gall bladder problem, could be treated locally at the primary care centre after an ultrasound test.

“This would avoid forcing the patient to travel to Beaumont Hospital in congested traffic, queuing for an x-ray, ultrasound and undergoing a battery of tests by a team of doctors who do not know the medical history of the patient.

“Local GPs know the medical history of their patients and can diagnose quicker, avoiding further illness and complications maybe from a delayed diagnosis.”

He added: “The elderly patient with a congested lung problem can have an x-ray, be diagnosed locally and stay at home instead of ending up in an emergency department possibly being admitted to hospital due to a delay in diagnosis.”

Senator Reilly has been calling for a day hospital to serve Fingal for some time and believes the state-ofthe-art Balbriggan facility could meet that need if adequately equipped.

He said: “Local diagnostic services present a winwin for local patients. I have had discussions with Health Minister Simon Harris who has agreed to examine the possibility.”