Patient Safety Remains Priority In UK

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Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey said that people in the Omagh area will continue to benefit from a wide range of hospital services which will meet their needs well into the future.

Following a decision to no longer admit acutely ill medical patients to the Tyrone County Hospital by the beginning of March, the Western Trust will now move to providing the range of services anticipated in the new ?190million enhanced local hospital.

The Minister said: “I realise that the decision by the Western Trust to no longer admit acutely ill medical patients will be seen by some as a blow to the local community. I understand their disappointment that this step has had to be taken at this time. However, the Trust has advised me that these services are simply no longer sustainable. This was also emphasised to the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Nursing Officer during their recent visits to the Erne and Tyrone County hospitals.

“I have always said that I would continue to maintain acute services at the Tyrone County as long as it was safe to do so, and all the evidence indicates that this is no longer possible. Patient safety must come first and I support the Western HSC Trust’s decision to consolidate acute impatient services at the Erne and Altnagelvin hospital sites. This will help ensure that hospitals in the West continue to provide the highest quality and safest services possible not just for today but into the future.

“The 24/7 Urgent Care and Treatment centre will continue and from March will be doctor-led, and delivered by highly skilled and experienced nurses.

“The Trust will now start the process of introducing the comprehensive range of new and additional services which have been planned for the new hospital. I am confident that these services, in conjunction with primary care, will provide the local community with the vast majority of their healthcare needs.”

New and additional services which will be rolled out at the Tyrone County Hospital include:

* Day case cardiology services, including chest pain clinic and heart failure clinics

* Additional outpatient clinics

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* Increased diagnostics and imaging

* Additional investment in rapid response nursing teams to support patients in the community

* Appointment of specialist children’s nurses to provide hospital and community support in relation to asthma, epilepsy and continence care

* New in-reach consultant-led diabetes services

* Additional clinics for urodynamics (urinary services)

* Development of palliative care services

The Minister continued: ““There are also plans to develop a range of new services such as a chemotherapy service; more day case surgery and the development of palliative care services. The excellent renal dialysis service will continue and the new hospital will be the only enhanced local hospital in Northern Ireland to provide this service.

“I also want to ensure that the facilities in the Tyrone County Hospital are maintained and that the hospital environment is of high quality. The new enhanced local hospital is due to be completed in 2013. In the meantime, the Trust spent over ?500,000 refurbishing two wards in the hospital and a further scheme is due to start to improve Ward 12 at a cost of ?100,000.

“I have also invested ?1.4million to provide an additional A&E ambulance for both Omagh and Enniskillen, an additional deployment point in Irvinestown and the extension of cover for the Castlederg area to ensure a 24/7 service is available. This significant investment is to ensure that the local population can have confidence in the ability of the emergency services to respond to them when they are in urgent need of assistance. "

In conclusion the Minister said: “The service developments at Tyrone County, and the investment in the area, are proof of my commitment to ensuring the local community has access to the widest possible range of services to meet their needs for many years to come.

“I have been assured that there will be no job losses for Tyrone County Hospital staff as a result of these services changes. I want to commend staff at the hospital who have worked tirelessly to provide excellent care to patients, despite an increasingly challenging environment in recent months. It is important that the local community offers every support and backing to staff who will continue to provide high quality care to the people of Omagh.”

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