EDIT: We have been told by the Western Trust that the Omagh Addiction Treatment Unit closed for a refurb on 3 July 2015.
Readers in the North West will remember reading our very popular piece on how the campaign for a detoxification unit in Derry was betrayed by a range of political parties, health trusts, and their own council – you can read it again here.
The whole process to reconfigure the services into a ‘regional network’ started with a consultation that ended in January 2014. As part of this, four centres would cater to all of NI and an existing centre would have 8 beds to serve the Western Trust.
In October 2015, Chair of the Stormont Health Committee was informed by the Western Trust that the new service would be operational by January 2016. (Source).
However, to add insult to injury for the people of the North’s second largest City, BtP can reveal today that the Omagh unit has been totally closed for some time – meaning the Western Trust has had no 24/7 inpatient detox services at all.
We asked the Western Trust to give us information about how many patients the Omagh centre had seen since the reconfiguration of the service took place, broken down by month.
In an astonishing reply, the Trust told us:
“We have been advised by the Trust’s Directorate of Adult Mental Health Services that unfortunately due to the refurbishment requirement in the former facility, the detoxification unit is not currently operational.”
In a piece in the Ulster Herald in April 2015, a local Omagh Councillor was told that the service would be up and running from June 2015. (Source) In it, the Councillor informed the paper that correspondence from the Department of Health stated that:
“The intention being to have the Omagh ATU operating in its enhanced role from June 2015, subject to recruitment and training.”
We asked the Trust when the service closed for refurbishment, but have not had any reply as yet. The Trust did inform us that the work was due to finish at the end of March – but the question remains – how could the Western area be left with no provision at all for any period of time given the need and demand of a proper service from the people of the North West? It is now over two years since the consultation ended for the new service.