News | Strabane & Omagh Councillors grill Wells on failing Health services

Strabane & Omagh Councillors grill Wells on failing Health services

SDLP Strabane & Omagh Councillors met with Health Minister Jim Wells in Stormont today to express concerns over healthcare provision in Omagh, Strabane and the surrounding area. During the meeting they discussed the lack in Out of Hours and palliative care services as well as the status of the promised mental and addiction treatment services for Omagh.

Following the meeting Omagh Cllr Josephine Deehan said: “While we are mindful of the deficit in the health budget, the cuts agenda is having a hugely detrimental impact on the communities of Omagh and Strabane.

“The palliative care service at the Tyrone County Hospital has been fully utilised and oversubscribed. Under the savings plan, the number of palliative care beds has been reduced from 10 to 6 and the number of rehabilitation beds has been reduced from 30 to 24. This has resulted in high levels of stress and anxiety in the community with long waiting lists and relatives struggling for places so their loved ones will have suitable end-of-life care.

“We have been told that this reduction in beds is a temporary measure. We pressed the minister to indicate when this measure would cease and full provision would be restored and he has yet to respond.”

 Strabane Cllr Patsy Kelly said: “People have expressed deep frustration over GP Out of Hours service in Strabane.  People in the area have been promised a doctor would be available between 6pm and 11pm but this has not always been the case. After 11pm, patients are told to travel to Derry for attention or to wait potentially hours for a doctor to arrive from Derry.

“We need a full GP Out of Hours service available and not rely on Derry for such an important frontline service.

“Omagh and Strabane have also been promised services like acute mental and addiction treatment. We asked the Minister to honour his commitments and confirm the location of the acute Mental Health Unit in Omagh and we are still waiting on confirmation.

“Transforming your Care is aimed at providing good, accessible primary care to meet the needs of the people of the region. The Minister must explain how he plans to deliver properly resourced primary healthcare services for Omagh and Strabane.”

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