Take it or leave it

Health Minister Michael McGimpsey has warned Omagh Council and Hospital Campaigners to get behind the proposals for an ‘enhanced local hospital’ or else he will drop all plans for a hospital in the town. There has been a vigorous campaign for a full acute hospital. He warned:

“My capital fund is about 50% of what I need and the hospital infrastructure in Northern Ireland is about 50-years-old and needs replaced and hasn’t had the investment. So there is enormous competition for re-development.”

  • Clive McFarland

    Its hardly what I’d describe as very helpful tone from a Minister. All that’s ever been asked for were acute services which would serve the entire southwest region.

    Also, if he was actually serious about encouraging engagement with the Council I don’t think statements like this are likely to help.

    Anyway, the Council will be requesting a meeting with him following on from the Council meeting on Tuesday evening. I suppose we’ll have to see if he even accepts the request. Dare say its more than a little embarassing for his party colleagues locally too.

  • Turgon

    Michael McGimpsey seems to be playing a fairly tough line here but I suspect the reality is that he is being told that two acute hospitals in the South West are no longer a viable proposition: there is simply not the population to allow the necessary specialities to have access to adequate numbers of patients for skill levels to be maintained. Hospital care has changed radically over the last 20 years and the old model of a given hospital doctor or nurse doing practically everything has gone: medicine is now too specialised and people rightly expect too much to allow it to go back to the way it was in 1980.

    As such the simple reality is that there needs to be one acute hospital for the area and the other site needs to be a community hospital. The battle over Enniskillen vs Omagh has been fought and is now over for better or worse. There were good arguments on both sides but a decision was made and would take ages to unmake and would leave the situation in limbo for even longer. Even if it were reversed we would have exactly the same complaints from Fermanagh.

    The danger now is that unless the public and public representatives from both Tyrone and Fermanagh get behind the current model it may never happen and rather than having Omagh gradually downgraded and become a community hospital one could see the current Enniskillen hospital or any new hospital suffer a similar fate.

  • The Raven

    Help me out here folks – isn’t it about £280m for that hospital?

    I don’t think – based on past form – that Mr McGimpsey will give a fig for how embarrassed his colleagues are. It’s business decision time. And increasingly, he’s the only Minister that has shown he’s got what it takes to make decisions.

    From the Tele: “I think it’s extraordinarily short sighted, bearing in mind the competition with other major projects. If they push this the way they are going, frankly, they will make some people in other parts of Northern Ireland very happy.” Nice. That’s EXACTLY the language that needs to be spoken. More of it please.

    Location decisions have been taken – move on, make the best of it, and lobby for a couple of air ambulances. If Mr McSorley is reading this: you don’t get your own way on everything, mate. Welcome to the real world.

  • Ally

    Michael McGimpsey is certainly laying down the law. Omagh Counil seriously need to realise the position they are taking is a ‘no brainer’, and they should work with the Minister and others to move things forward.

  • lamh dearg

    This line should have been taken with Omagh years ago, I just hope McGimpsey means it.