McGahan presents petition to keep Loane House open
Sinn Féin MLA Bronywn McGahan has presented a petition to the Assembly calling for Loane House in Dungannon to remain open.
Speaking after presenting the petition, which was signed by more than 8,000 people, to Assembly Speaker William Hay, the Fermanagh/South Tyrone MLA said;
"The fact that more than 8,000 people signed this petition in opposition to the Southern Trust's proposal to close Loane House shows the strength of feeling in the local area.
"Loane House contains 45 non-acute hospital beds, eight of which are used for stroke patients.
"Closure of this facility would only add to the pressures on both the acute hospitals in the Trust, neither of which can cope with their workload as things stand at the moment.
"In essence this is an equality issue. The majority of the employees at Loane House are women. It will also have an adverse impact on older member of our community.
"Closure would also add to rural isolation as people would be forced to travel long distances to access alternative services, further isolating and alienating them from their community.
"NHS bosses have stated publicly that community hospitals should play a greater role in caring for older people. They have highlighted the dividends in care for stroke and major trauma patients by concentrating specialist care.
"Loane House certainly meets that criteria and the minister must ensure that it remains open.
"On behalf of Sinn Féin I would like to thank the thousands of people who have signed this petition including the people of Killeeshil, businesses in Dungannon, Clogher Valley, Blackwatertown and Torrent areas, as well as the South Tyrone Hospital Forum."