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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 March, 2004, 14:40 GMT
Council loses hospital action
Tyrone County Hospital
Acute services are being taken away from Tyrone County Hospital

A council in County Tyrone has lost a court battle to challenge a decision to remove acute services from its hospital.

It comes a year after the government announced the Tyrone County Hospital in Omagh was to lose the services in favour of a new 100m hospital.

That hospital will be built somewhere to the north of Enniskillen, County Fermanagh.

Omagh District Council wanted to appeal against the decision but a ruling at Court of Appeal on Tuesday did not go in its favour.

Afterwards, a Department of Health spokesperson said it knew people would be disappointed but now hoped they would focus on the future.

Dr Ciaran Deeny, who was elected to the Assembly on the single issue of trying to save the hospital at Omagh, said people in Tyrone would continue their fight against the "preposterous" plan.

"We won't stop at all - these proposals will leave the whole centre of the province without emergency health care," he said.

The court action was the latest stage in the battle by campaigners to keep services at the Tyrone hospital.

Omagh council was initially refused leave to apply for a judicial review in May 2003 of the government's decision.

It appealed that ruling in January this year but judgement was reserved and the new ruling given on Tuesday.

The area's assembly members were due to be at the hearing.

'Too many hospitals'

Omagh councillors have given their broad support to the campaign to retain acute services.

The changes were the start of a capital investment programme in acute hospitals throughout the province.

The largest such investment in Northern Ireland, it was set to amount to 1.2bn over the next 10 years.

A year ago, NIO minister Des Browne said that the profile of hospital services was no longer appropriate and too many acute hospitals were being sustained for the population.

BBC NI's Julian O'Neill reports
"The campaign to retain acute services at Omagh's hospital will continue despite the result"

Challenge to hospital decision
04 Apr 03  |  Northern Ireland
Legal threat to hospitals move
24 Feb 03  |  Northern Ireland
Hospital to lose acute services
11 Jun 02  |  Northern Ireland

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