McElduff challenges health authorities on proposed cuts for Omagh
Sinn Féin MLA Barry McElduff has said there is widespread concern in Omagh about possible reductions to healthcare services.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow's public rally in Omagh in opposition to health cuts, the West Tyrone MLA said;
"There is growing concern in Omagh about proposed cuts to frontline health services, particularly at the Tyrone County Hospital and Tyrone and Fermanagh Hospital in Omagh.
“I have been inundated with calls from members of the public who are seriously concerned at the reduction in palliative care beds from ten to six.
"One recently bereaved family has said to me that as soon as their loved one died, another patient was waiting to take this bed. This family has effectively pleaded with me to make sure that these bed numbers in palliative care at the Tyrone County Hospital are not reduced.
"This follows on from a very insensitive proposal to merge palliative care with rehabilitation at the Tyrone County Hospital. Thankfully, the Western Health Trust moved quickly to abandon this ill-thought out proposal. However, they have now chosen to introduce a measure, which amounts to reduction of beds in palliative care from ten to six.
"This does not meet the health requirements of the local community either in terms of end of life care or respite care.
"It is coming to light that further major cuts and service reduction in dementia care is coming down the track. I am reliably informed that what amounts to 40 beds in the Tyrone and Fermanagh Hospital may be reduced from 40 to 12. I am further informed that patients exhibiting challenging behaviour will be side by side with other patients.
"Another crucial area is the delivery of domiciliary care. As a community, the people in Omagh and West Tyrone need to be very vigilant at this time and both the Western Health Trust and the Department of Health need to be honest and upfront with people.
"We are concerned about the retention of Acute Mental Health Services at the Tyrone County Hospital. And we are determined to make sure that the maximum range of services will be in the new local enhanced hospital, which is to open in 2016.
"We do not want any diminution of services at the Tyrone County Hospital as a prelude to the new hospital opening."