Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Doherty describes Omagh Hospital decision as short-sighted and unacceptable

11 October, 2005

West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty has reacted angrily to Health Minister Shaun Woodward's decision to remove Surgical and Accident and Emergency Surgical Services from Tyrone County hospital.

Mr Doherty said:

"The Minister's decision to remove Surgical and A&E from Tyrone County is short-sighted and unacceptable. It will soon become clear that the so-called contingency arrangements for A&E provision for the people of this area are not only unworkable but also downright dangerous. For example the current ambulance cover provision is completely inadequate and even greater gaps will emerge as ambulances are forced to travel to Altnagelvin, Craigavon or the Erne. I hope that the consequences of this are not the tragic loss of life.

"If the clinical network within the Western Board area was properly developed, there is no reason why A&E cover could not be provided at Tyrone County.

"Today's announcement is the culmination of years of under-funding of services West of the Bann by DHSSPS and the gross-mismanagement of services by the WHSSB and Sperrin Lakeland Trust. However, instead of thinking outside the box and moving to correct this injustice, the people of Tyrone will view the Minister's decision as the latest instalment of a decades old agenda to centralise services in the golden six, only one of which is west of the Bann.

"The people of this area and all of the political representatives are united in our determination to secure a profile of services that meets the needs of the people of this area.

"Collectively we need to challenge the Minister for Health, The Western Board and The Sperrin Lakeland Trust to tell us that today's measures are only short term and that the proposed new hospital in Omagh will have 24-hour A&E services and a broad range of other acute services.

"As a first step in reassuring the people of this area of the Departments intentions, I am calling on Shaun Woodward to come to Omagh and speak to my constituents and hear of their very real concerns and grievances and to speak to the staff at Tyrone County and thank them for their tireless efforts to keep services opened in adverse circumstances." ENDS

"As MP for West Tyrone, I will not give up on demanding proper accessible services for the people of this community and I am convinced that this will be achieved if we collectively take this fight to the powers that be in the health authorities." ENDS

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