MLA calls for public enquiry into "Health Trust's waste of public money"
REACTING to recent revelations that the Sperrin Lakeland Trust (SLT) is proposing to spend £2 million on new theatres at the Erne, Tyrone County, hospital campaigner and Independent MLA, Dr Kieran Deeny has called for a public enquiry into what he described as "a waste of taxpayers money."
The assembly member described the proposal as, "nothing short of a public scandal that Sperrin Lakeland Trust, backed by the DHSSPS and WHSSB, are now intent on further disenfranchising the people of Tyrone by spending £2million on new theatres for the Erne Hospital, which will be closed or knocked down in approximately four years time."
Dr Deeny emphasised that to make this decision when there are three state-of-the-art modern theatres in Omagh and within the same Trust area, along with a modern laboratory and CSSD, is an outrageous and grossly irresponsible spending of public money, stating, "This is all to make sure that we in Omagh and District must have as little health services as possible."
The Carrickmore GP said, "In effect our own money is being used to prop up the Erne Hospital at all costs and to kill off completely our own Tyrone County Hospital.
"This is, yet again, another example of the blatant geographical discrimination carried out by the DHSSPS, WHSSB and SLT, where the needs of the few in Fermanagh are always put before the many more of us in Tyrone."
Dr Deeny continued, "What is it about these unelected and unaccountable Health Bodies that, when compared to the health and lives of the people of Fermanagh, we in Tyrone are considered lesser or second class?
"Our patients are expected to somehow get to the Erne in emergency and life-threatening situations when time is of the utmost importance yet Fermanagh folk are not to be asked to travel to Omagh for arranged elective operations when time is not the main priority - certainly a two tier service of Health Care exists within SLT."
Dr Deeny suggested that the facilities in Omagh should be utilised instead of spending this vast amount of money only to be replaced in four years time.
"The Surgeons in the Erne are employed by SLT and can easily perform their operations in Omagh for the next four years if instructed to do so by SLT," declared Dr Deeny. "Unlike the Erne, our laboratory facilities are 'second to none' in Omagh.
"ICU facilities could easily be recreated as anaesthetist cover is not a problem and HDU could again become ICU.
Other highly skilled surgical teams from outside Northern Ireland have already used our modern surgical facilities in Omagh without any problems."
Dr Deeny has written to the Westminster Public Accounts Committee to investigate this proposal and asked them to investigate the whole decision to use almost £1billion of public money over the next 30 years under PFI to fund an Acute Hospital for only 70,000 people.
He highlighted the similar example of The Model School in Belfast which closed due to not being able to attract enough pupils.
"The case of the planned Acute Hospital for Enniskillen is almost the same except that there will be much, much more money being wasted (over 12 times as much at £250 million and then three to four times this again under PFI repayments, making a grand total of almost £1 billion of public money to be wasted on a hospital for 70,00 people only, that has no chance of ever becoming an Acute Hospital in the modern sense."
Calling for a public enquiry into this situation, Dr Deeny said, "I believe that this recent money wasting decision by SLT should be subjected to a Public Enquiry and I, and all of us as Public Representatives in West Tyrone, should now unite and demand that such a Public Enquiry is conducted ASAP before £2million of our money is wasted on unnecessary operating theatres.
Copy of Fermanagh Herald News Archive.
Link to Fermanagh Herald Newspapers.
"Health Trust's waste of public money"
Publication ULSTER HERALD
Date Thu, Dec 21, 2006
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