Board stands over £105m price-tag for new hospital

SWAH Enniskillen


THE HEALTH and Social Care Board has defended its decision to approve a multi-million pound hospital in Omagh at a time that SWAH (South West Acute Hospital) and local health care is under financial pressure.

The Health Board, which oversees the Western Trust, denied the opening of the new enhanced hospital would hit services at SWAH, saying it is designed to stamp out unnecessary acute hospital attendances as well as bringing health care closer to patients.


At the same time, the Board have exposed services which are not available at the SWAH, ranging from rehabilitation beds, palliative care beds and a Cardiac Assessment Unit, saying they will only be available in Omagh’s new hospital.

The Board stated that acute services were withdrawn from Tyrone County Hospital (TCH) in March 2009 because of “patient safety and unsustainability of services”.

These resources were reallocated to acute services at SWAH and Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry based on anticipated patient demand.

When asked if the capital funding should be re-directed to the Western Trust, the Board stated: “It is the Health and Social Care Board’s role to commission a comprehensive range of modern and effective services for the resident population of Northern Ireland and to deploy and manage its annual funding from Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to ensure that all services are safe and sustainable.

“The Board is not responsible for capital expenditure but rather is responsible for the revenue consequence of capital developments.

“The Omagh Local Enhanced Hospital will not require any additional revenue investment.”

The spokesman stated that the new Omagh hospital has been strategically planned for more than a decade through the Developing Better Services programme, adding that its build costs have been programmed up to seven years ago.


“The building will be built to 21st century standards and deliver considerable economies in terms of running costs as well as a greatly improved environment for GP and hospital services. It will place patients at the centre of a safe, effective, efficient health care system within the limit of available resources,” a spokesman added.

“The Board recognises the need to develop Health and Social Care accommodation, and the development is in line with Transforming Your Care.”

The spokesman added that, in particular, the reprovisioning of GP services from the existing Omagh Health Centre to the new local enhanced hospital progresses the Board’s plans to improve Primary Care Infrastructure through the creation of a ‘primary care hub’ for the Omagh District.

“These services must be provided in Omagh.”

The Board stated that the new hospital will offer different services from SWAH which includes GP services.

“The Omagh Local Enhanced Hospital will provide urgent care and treatment centre, clinical intervention centre, renal unit, rehabilitation beds, palliative care beds and Cardiac Assessment Unit, none of which are available in SWAH.

“Day surgery is provided in Omagh for patients from across the Western area as well as Northern Local Commissioning Group area, for example ophthalmology procedures. This is in line with Transforming Your Care which seeks to prevent unnecessary acute hospital attendances through the provision of community health-care services closer to patients.”

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