Woman’s anger at changes to unit’s opening

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A Derry woman who has been receiving treatment at the inpatient dermatology unit at Anderson House said she is devastated to hear it has closed.

Myra Doherty who has had psoriasis for almost 40 years, told the ‘Journal’ that she has regularly been receiving treatment on both an inpatient and outpatient basis.

But she only found out from a friend this week that the unit is now only available for day case patients.

“I want to know who made this decision,” she said. “Who said that we can manage at home? Did the Western Trust even consult with the patients? Why did I have to find out about this from a stranger?”

Ms. Doherty says that using the creams and tending to her skin at home can be an arduous process.

She also revealed that she suffers from Psoriatic Arthritis.

“I was able to go to the inpatient unit and get some respite,” she said. “It’s a whole process doing it at home.

“An awful lot of people were using the unit. I just can’t understand why they have closed it.“This unit at Anderson House was my life, my salvation. It’s a big loss to people here who used it.

“I am just in shock that this has happened.

“I want to get a group together of people who used the dermatology unit and see what we can do now.

“What happens now if we have a bad flare up. If the clinic is only open certain hours where are we supposed to go?

“Are people supposed to get taxis to and from the day case clinic every day?

“I’ve been asking the reason why the unit has been closed but I haven’t got any answers.”

The Western Trustcommented in response: “The Western Trust has commenced a consultation process reviewing the requirements for overnight stay in hospital for those patients needing care for skin conditions.

“The advances in pharmacology and treatments for dermatology conditions has seen an improvement for patients and avoids the need to stay in hospital overnight.

“The Dermatology Unit at Anderson House, Altnagelvin will continue as a Day Service and Outpatient Service and will be available from 8.00am-7.30pm, Monday to Friday and 8am -2 pm on Saturdays to accommodate patients who are at work during the hours of 9am -5pm.”