Alarm bells ringing over ‘insufficient’ health investment in South Tyrone

Bronwyn McGahan MLA and Employment and Learning Committee member chats to a pupil at Sperrinview Special School in Dungannon
Bronwyn McGahan MLA and Employment and Learning Committee member chats to a pupil at Sperrinview Special School in Dungannon

Alarm has been expressed over the inadequate health and social care facilities in the Dungannon area.

Sinn Féin MLA Brownyn McGahan has expressed her disappointment at the continuous lack of investment into the Southern Health and Social Care Trust and its insufficient facilities.

She has been campaigning for a modern facility to replace Oakridge Day Centre in the town, but has been told that the service is not a priority.

Speaking after raising the issue with the Health Minister in the Assembly, Ms McGahan said: “I asked the Minister if he could assure me that there was sufficient capital in the 2015-16 Southern Health and Social Care Trust budget to provide a modern facility to replace the Oakridge Day Centre in Dungannon and his response both disappoints and frustrates me.

“He informed me that whilst the business case for the replacement of the Oakridge social education centre in Dungannon is under review, due to current financial constraints it cannot be progressed.

“Therefore, the timeline for completion will be dependent on appropriate business case approvals and, ultimately, budget availability.

“Although the Minster committed himself to combining a visit to Oakridge Day Centre with a visit to Loane House, he basically said he already has the budget for 2015/16 spent on other initiatives and has ‘next to no money’ left for new initiatives.

“The Minister accepts that the present facilities are very poor, yet he says he cannot afford to do anything about it. I find this extremely disappointing and I will continue to fight until Oakridge Day Centre is replaced with an appropriate facility that caters for the needs of the people of Dungannon and the surrounding areas.”