Mental health hospital plans thrown out again

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a small hospital to treat people requiring psychiatric care have been rejected a second time, to the relief of local residents.

Phalmac Healthcare Ltd wanted to build a centre for 23 patients suffering from eating disorders in Tullyallen, about 2 miles from Castlecaulfield.

According to Phalmac’s website, the proposed centre would have provided therapeutic and psychiatric care for patients with anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge-eating and other eating disorders.

However, the planning department and Dungannon Council have rejected a newly amended set of plans, after they first rejected the proposal in November 2011.

The company now has the option of appealing the planning refusal, but SDLP Councillor Anthony McGonnell said there was an overwhelming tide of opposition against the therapeutic centre.

“From the very outset there has been strong local opposition to these plans”, said the Clogher Valley representative.

“The plans were for a small hospital to be built in a quiet agricultural community without the adequate infrastructure and at a great distance from an acute hospital.

“The community in the vicinity of the site, every man and woman, was against these plans. The fear in the community was that the unit would house people with alcohol and drug addictions, when there is clearly not the services and resources in the vicinity to deal with such issues.

“The road where the hospital was due to be built has been severely flooded in the past, and it was clear that ambulances and other emergency services would have had great difficulty accessing the site.”

According to Phalmac’s website, the centre would offer inpatient care for patients requiring psychiatric stabilization and outpatient care to people with eating disorders.

The centre’s multidisciplinary team would help patients develop the skills necessary to gain control of destructive eating behaviour, improve their support system, increase self-esteem, and establish a stable foundation for long-term recovery.

“It will provide 23 beds of which 4 of these will be for more intensive observation/supervision. Therapy rooms, cooking/eating facilities, alternative therapy facilities plus a well-being centre will allow for a wide spectrum of services to be offered to clients.”