Addiction treatment services in Omagh are set to expand to increase facilities for people suffering from addiction in the Western Trust area.
The expansion is set to provide more beds and a more accessible service for people from Derry and other parts of the North West who are dealing with problems relating to drugs and alcohol.
While the expansion of services in Omagh has been welcomed, the decision not to open a treatment centre in Derry has been criticised after the need for the service was highlighted in recent months.
SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey said: “During the consultation, I made clear in my submission that a detoxification centre should be sited in Derry and that resources to allow it to operate 24 hours a day should be put in place.
“I am very disappointed the Health and Social Care Board have not widely considered my submission that we should have a local site, fit-for-purpose for the people of Derry. Whilst this is a reprieve for the services in Omagh, we have to ask if it will mean increased access for the people of this city and whether the increased accessible hours and resources outlined in the Boards announcement will mean the services are flexible enough in the long term to adapt to the differing needs of the population of the wider North-West, and if the Western Trust in going forward will have the resources to manage this service.”
Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin meanwhile welcomed moves to increase addiction treatment services in Omagh and said people from the city would benefit from the increased facilities there.
She said: “The approval of the plan to move towards a three-site 30-bed regional network for addiction treatment services is welcome. The previous plan included provision for two sites with 24 beds, which would have limited the opportunity for people throughout the trust’s area to access these vital services.
“Now people from Derry, Strabane and across the wider area will be able to access expanded treatment services at the Omagh site, including detoxification and rehabilitation.
“The facility in Omagh currently operates on a part-time basis but these plans will see it move towards a 24 hours a day, seven days a week service with additional resources. The expansion of services in Omagh will help form part of a holistic solution to combat the misery of addiction for families across the wider trust area.”