Tyrone County Hospital
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (April 2008)|
|This article is outdated. (February 2009)|
As of 2009[update], the hospital is facing closure because of a decision of then Health Minister Bairbre de Brún. The Maternity, Paediatric and Intensive Care units have all been closed and children are not allowed to be taken into Accident & Emergency. Because of this, patients face travelling distances of approximately 43 km (27 mi) south to the Erne Hospital in Enniskillen (which has a smaller population than Omagh), 57 km (35 mi) north to Altnagelvin Area Hospital in Derry, or as far as Craigavon, which is over 80 km (50 mi) away. These journeys pose a risk to people requiring urgent treatment. Michael McGimpsey has so far defended the decision.
As part of the campaign against the proposals to close the hospital, local GP Kieran Deeny was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly on the single issue of retaining the hospital in the 2003 elections. On 15 October 2005, there was a mass protest outside the hospital, which made television news, both local and national newspapers and radio. On 28 November 2005 there was a large protest in the town centre, with over 30,000 in attendance. All of the town's schools and many shops closed for the event, allowing students and staff to attend. Meetings involving the Sperrin Healthcare Trust are constantly interrupted by campaigners.
Health Minister Michael McGimpsey threatened to pull the plug on building a new Hospital in Omagh (albeit with much reduced facilities) unless Omagh District Council support him, and as such Tyrone County Hospital is facing an uncertain future.
Concerns have also been raised as to whether the new Omagh Local Hospital will even be built. Due to budget cuts, the health minister says he hasn't, in fact, the money to build the new hospital, but he says it is one of his priorities.
- "Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey has today reaffirmed his continued support for the new Omagh Hospital.". 26 May 2010.
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