Over £557k spent on security at disused hospital

THE £557,500 paid out to maintain and secure the Tyrone County Hospital site should have been used to ‘provide 4,000 hours worth of domiciliary care to local people.’
Local Councillor Victor Warrington has hit out after it was revealed that the Western Trust has paid out over half a million pound to secure and maintain the Omagh site since its closure in June 2017.
In the 19 months since the century-old Omagh hospital closed its doors, the Western Health Trust paid a total of £410,000 in private ‘round the clock’ security costs.
This equates to £21,578 per month which the Trust states is “value for money” following a competitive tender process.
Furthermore, in response to a number of recent ‘attempted unauthorised entries’, the Trust has erected a new fence around the 20 acre site at an additional cost of £100,000.
In a Freedom of Information (FOI) Act response to the Herald, the Trust also revealed that the monthly cost for maintenance and amenity is currently estimated at £2,500.
That means that the total 19 month bill for amenities is approximately £47,500.
Ulster Unionist Councillor Victor Warrington has expressed his anger after the Trust’s expenditure was revealed, despite the hospital lying vacant.
Councillor Warrington said, “That money instead should have been spent on delivering between 80-90 hip replacements or over 4,000 hours worth of domiciliary care to local people.
“There simply can be no valid explanation for this waste of money,” he fumed.
The FOI statement confirming the cost read, “The monthly costs relating to round the clock security during this period has progressively diminished and will continue to do so as site decommissioning progresses and new temporary security fences and additional electronic surveillance equipment is installed pending disposal of the site. The site disposal is anticipated within the next six to 12 months depending upon market interest.”
Cllr Warrington continued saying ‘our health service is in the midst of an unprecedented crisis.’
“Delays are so bad in some specialities that it’s widely agreed that growing numbers of patients are coming to harm as a result of not receiving treatment on time,” he pointed out.
“Every penny of NHS funding therefore should be spent wisely and prudently – yet here we have an example of over half a million pounds of public money being squandered and all down to poor management and proper planning.”

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