Sinn Féin challenge Western trust at 'robust' meeting
Published: 14 November, 2014
Sinn Féin has challenged the Western Trust during what one of their Councillors, Anne Marie Fitzgerald, described as a 'robust, heated and tense' meeting where the trust unveiled huge spending cuts across the Health Sector on Wednesday evening. A number of top officials from the trust were present as were local elected representatives from Omagh District Councils Healthcare committee.
Two of those present were Sinn Féin councillors Anne Marie Fitzgerald and Frankie Donnelly. Speaking after the meeting Councillor Fitzgerald said:
"The meeting with the Western Trust was quite robust, heated at times and tense given the fact that they were there to detail cuts across the health service in the Omagh area. Sadly it's a story we are all too familiar with, given that Omagh bears the brunt of such cuts time and again.
"The Trust during their presentation presented a long detailed list of cuts. One of those mentioned for 'relocation' was Gortmore day-care facility. Futhermore domiciliary care services in the trust have over spent by £2million by September of this year and this service will be more carefully monitored with vulnerable elderly and their families having to wait for help in a more prolonged waiting times.
"As highlighted earlier this week Pallative care will be reduced from 10 beds to patient occupancy of 6. It was highlighted by many of those in attendance that this vital service, with a highly trained and motivated staff, provides an essential service for people in the Omagh and surrounding area and must be protected. The Trust also stated that there will be a redesign of mental health/dementia provision. Dementia care will be more focused in the home care setting with 2 additional behaviour nurses and 2 community psychiatric nurse nurses but will result in 18 bed closures across oak and ash villas.
"We are very much concerned by many of these proposals and the direction of these cuts, which will impact directly on the delivery of services in the local area, having a knock on impact on the local community, including patients and staff. We made our feelings known at the meeting that pulling resources from the Community is a retrograde step in terms of healthcare provision.
"In relation to Gortmore it is an excellent facility with a considerable admissions waiting list and with highly qualified and dedicated staff. I expressed our disgust and outrage that this facility is being targeted continually, whilst other homes in the trust area have not been touched.
"Despite savings we as elected representatives will continue to monitor the situation closely and will oppose any further erosion of services in the area.
Sinn Féin party colleague Frankie Donnelly also pressed the trust on staff redundancies regarding the 'redesign' of mental health provision in the area:
"I am reassured that there will be no staff redundancies in relation to what was described as a 'redesign' of mental health provision locally. I have been informed that staff will be moved out to the community to continue dementia care services and this is one welcome aspect of the presentation as well as the trusts commitment that will not be paying any clinical assessment awards to any staff this year or haven't done so in the last year.ENDS