A little bit of history has been made in Co Tyrone with the opening of a purpose-built medical centre in the village of Dunamanagh.
Never before have the people of the village and surrounding areas been able to avail of such a purpose-built facility as the former surgery was no more than a converted residence,
The state of the art new Dunamanagh Medical Practice is due to be officially opened by Health Minister Edwin Poots on Wednesday, August 22 at 2pm with all patients as well as local dignitaries invited to attend.
The opening will mark the culmination of many years of hard work by local GP, Dr Archie Fullerton, his wife Sheelagh and staff.
It all started when the Western Health Board deemed the former surgery unfit for use.
“We were top of a list drawn up by the Board in 2005 of premises in need of refurbishment and that gave us priority in the pecking order for new premises.
“We decided to build from scratch so we got a mortgage and the Board paid in one fifth of the cost,” Dr Fullerton, who also part-funded the project - told the Journal.
The project was second, he has overseen since he took over the family practice from his father, also Dr Archie Fullerton, more than three decades ago.
Together the father and son GPs have been ministering to patients in Dunamanagh for a total of 62 years.
Dr Fullerton’s daughter Alison has also qualified as medical doctor, giving rise to hope that the Fullerton’s medical dynasty in Dunamanagh may continue into a third generation.
However, her dad is was keen to state that there “is no pressure at all on her” to take on the job of local GP. “I took over the practice and converted the whole house into a surgery, 30 years ago.
“My father first started here in 1950 and it has always been a thriving practice and it’s very significant that today we have a new purpose built and state of the art health centre.
“It’s a great facility for everyone. Now we’ve got everything we need, the facilities are much better and the space is great as we were very cramped before,” he added.
Dunamanagh Medical Practice will continue to operate an open access policy where patients need not make an appointment to receive medical treatment.
All they have to do is turn up between 8.30am and 10am or between 2.30pm-5pm to see the GP.
All patients have been invited to the official opening at 2pm on August 22.
“This event provides all patients with the opportunity of viewing the purpose built health centre and meeting with staff who will be on hand throughout the afternoon,” Dr Fullerton said.
Light refreshments will be served in Dunamanagh Presbyterian Hall from 2.30pm.