Celebrating 10 years of the North Leitrim Women’s Centre Well Woman Clinic

Celebrating 10 years of the

North Leitrim Women’s Centre’s

Well Woman Clinic


Saturday May 10th 2014 marked the 10th Anniversary of the opening on the Well Woman Clinic in The North Leitrim Women’s Centre in Manorhamilton and those involved in the marked the occasion with an event to celebrate the success and achievements of the service and what it had meant to local women in North Leitrim over the last 10 years.


Speaking at the event Assumpta Kelly, the Co-ordinator of the North Leitrim Women’s Centre said “The service is a truly wonderful and valuable service for women and we’re very proud here at the Women’s Centre to be celebrating its 10th Birthday. That’s 10 years of providing a professional, high quality service looking after the health and wellbeing of women not just from the locality but from as far away as Longford, Donegal, Roscommon, Cavan and Sligo”.


Margaret Harkin a director and founding member of the North Leitrim Women’s Centre spoke about the background to the establishment of the service. She recalled the many long hours and late nights that local women put in, identifying the need for a local service to meet the health needs of Women and then the work of trying to secure funding and support from the North Western Health Board as it was then to get the service up and running. It was a long road and Margaret in her speech paid tribute to all the women that gave their time and commitment to see it happen, she said “without a group of women committed to and focused on the issues and needs of women we’d be lost… from humble beginnings with commitment and hard work look what can be achieved”.  


Dr. Helen Fitzsimons who holds the Clinic spoke with passion and humor about the early days of the service coming in the beginning to an empty shell of a room with nothing but a sink, building up the service, getting to know the local women, gaining women’s confidence and building the Clinic into the respected, valued service it is today. The Clinic has gone from strength to strength and over the last 10 years has looked after over 3,500 women at its fortnightly clinic in the North Leitrim Women’s Centre. Dr, Fitzsimmons spoke about the importance of the Well Woman Clinic’s position within the North Leitrim Women’s Centre, she likened it to stepping into a ‘nice warm bath’, the cosy, safe, welcoming atmosphere that the Women’s Center creates for the women that use the services of the Well Woman Clinic.


Thanks were also paid to the staff and management within the HSE West whose support and funding over the last 10 years has made the Well Woman Clinic possible. Tribute was paid to the HSE for supporting the vision of the women involved in the North Leitrim Women’s Centre to create a welcoming, professional, woman to woman health service dedicated to looking after the full spectrum of women’s health needs.


Maeve Mac Dermott the Primary Care Team Facilitator with the HSE West also spoke at the event. She spoke about how the Clinic fitted with HSE’s vision for health care to be rooted in local communities and the importance of Community Involvement in the  delivery of health care in the community. Maeve complimented the Well Woman Clinic on the quality and nature of the service it delivered to local women. The North Leitrim Women’s Centre’s Well Woman Clinic is a wonderful model of community based service delivery. Maeve spoke about the range of services that the Clinic provided including Health Screening for Cervical and Breast Cancer, family planning advice, contraception advice, advice and services around fertility, pregnancy, the menopause and mental health. The Well Woman Clinic takes care of the full spectrum of women’s health for all ages and all stages of women’s lives. Maeve also spoke about the important role the Well Woman Clinic and the Women’s Centre played in not only looking after the physical health of women but in providing a space for women to come together and to connect with each other in a world where people are becoming increasingly isolated and insular.


The voices and opinions of local women who used the service also featured on the day, with the results of a recent review of the service being presented. The review was unsurprisingly positive and full of praise for the service. Women commented on the excellent level of service and care they received, the knowledge and expertise of Dr. Fitzsimmons in Women’s Health issues, the friendly welcoming atmosphere of the clinic, the non-clinical atmosphere of the Clinic being as it is located within the North Leitrim Women’s Centre and the focus of the clinic being exclusively on women and women’s needs. A key determinant of the success of the Well Woman Clinic that women highlighted was that the Clinic was part of the overall service and work of the North Leitrim Women’s Centre. The Well Woman Clinic is and continues to be a vital part of the work of the Women’s Centre that focuses on the holistic needs of women.


As one service user put it “the overall atmosphere in the Clinic, the non-clinical environment and its position within a Centre that provides a variety of different services for women works to put women at ease, feel more comfortable and less nervous 


The day’s celebration was attended by local women, past and present members of the North Leitrim Women’s Centre and local political representatives. The Marie Keating Foundation was also present at the event with their free confidential advice and information service.


The day also provided a few treats for those present with a number of relaxing and fun workshops ranging from dance and movement, relaxation and mindfulness meditation, a great day was had by all and there was even a bit of birthday cake on offer.


Those involved in the Well Woman Clinic are looking forward to celebrating their 20th Anniversary in 2024.


The Well Woman Clinic operates in the North Leitrim Women’s Centre every second Wednesday. The Clinic runs on an appointment only basis, for more information or to make an appointment contact the North Leitrim Women’s Centre on 071 – 9856220.

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