Council charging health service over £5k rent per week

THE COUNCIL is charging the Western Trust £5,000 a week, and local GPs hundreds per day, to use its buildings as mass vaccination centres.^
The Council has confirmed to the Herald that it is charging the Trust rent for its use of the Fermanagh Lakeland Forum and the Omagh Leisure Complex, which were both closed anyway as a result of Covid regulations, as bases to roll out its vaccine programme.
“As is the case for the use of any Council facility, a licence agreement between both parties has been agreed, with Land and Property Services agreeing a licence fee of £2,500 per week for use of each centre, with any overhead charges charged on the basis of actual costs incurred,” said a Council spokesman.
Meanwhile, the Maple Healthcare GP practice in Lisnaskea is being charged £200 per day to use the Castle Park Centre in the town “to ensure the maximum number of patients could receive the vaccination in as short a timeframe as possible.”
“This [charge] is based on recovery of overhead and staffing costs that would not be incurred if the vaccination programme was not based in the centre and would otherwise be met through rates charges,” said the Council, who added the vaccination programme by the practice had been very successful.
The Council said it was unable to offer use of its facilities free of charge, and said it did all it could to keep its charges to a minimum.
“The Council is pleased to note that the hire arrangements for both the Trust and the Maple Healthcare practice have worked extremely well and builds upon the significant partnership effort which has been so evident throughout the Covid-19 pandemic,” they said.

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