Health Minister Edwin Poots is backing proposals for Donaghcloney GP centre to move to bigger premises.
On a visit last week, Mr Poots said the practice was ‘not fit for purpose’ and urged the Southern Health Trust to get behind the surgery and fork out the cash for better premises.
Mr Poots, who visited on the invitation of party colleague David Simpson MP referred to the recent closure of the GP practice in Waringstown on health and safety grounds.
He said it had been made clear to him that the Donaghcloney practice was not fit for purpose and they were having problems with lack of space for staff and to deal with almost 4,000 patients.
Sitting in a nurse’s office which also doubles as a kitchen, Mr Poots said he believed surgeries such as Donaghcloney would fit in well to the health strategy known as ‘hub and spokes’ with Lurgan as the hub and Donaghcloney as one of the spokes.
“We are looking at more services being provided at the hubs and Lurgan would be the hub.
“We are looking for spokes coming from those hubs and rural villages such as Donaghcloney would maintain their own independence and practices but they would also be working very closely with the larger facility.”
Asked if he had identified a location for the Lurgan hub he said: “One of the possibilities is the Lurgan hospital site. That is all up for consideration at this moment in time. That has been progressed slower than I would like it to be progressed but we are probably getting to a better situation.”
Asked if movement on improvements to Donaghcloney would be put on hold while the creation of new hubs was on hold, he said that as the premises were rented, it gave the surgery leeway and it was up to the Trust to get behind the practice if they want to move to a larger premises.
“It may involve higher rents but it may be something we need to do to deliver the broader spectrum service that we want to provide,” said Mr Poots.