WARING Orange Hall, which housed Waringstown Surgery until recently, would have to expand more than three times its current size in order to meet criteria set by the health board to keep the facility.
The revelation comes from the Waring Orange Hall Committee which issued a statement to the Mail following the apparent temporary closure of the surgery, which relocated to Donaghcloney earlier this month, amid an outcry from village residents.
In the statement, the committee stressed that it was doing “all in its power” to keep the surgery in Waring hall.
The statement added that it had not received any requests to make any improvements or carry out any rennovation work before September 11.
The committee statement added that a representative subsequently attended a meeting with both doctors - held in Donaghcloney with the health board in attendance - where it was explained the hall would have to undergo a major expansion in order to accommodate the surgery.
Richard Dewart, secretary of the Waring hall group, added that it was the committee’s intention to do everything “within its power” to meet the criteria but would need “commitment and guarantee for continued use of the facilities”.
Meanwhile, Jo-Anne Dobson MLA has demanded “immediate and decisive action” to bring the surgery back to Waringstown.
She said: “Back in June, when I first heard about the future of the surgery being under threat I wrote to the Health Minister (Edwin Poots) to ask him for his assessment of the future of the branch surgery service in Waringstown.
“In his response the Minister said that there would be appropriate consultation with patients. However, residents of the village have merely received a letter informing them of the temporary closure and urging them to either go to Donaghcloney surgery or to look for an alternative surgery elsewhere. This is by no stretch of the imagination appropriate consultation.
“I am calling on the Minister to take immediate and decisive action to allay the fears which many in the village now hold that they will never see a surgery open in Waringstown again. This would be a devastating blow to village life and herald the end of a service which has been available to Waringstown residents for over 100 years.”
She continued: “I have written directly to the Health and Social Care Board requesting that they hold a public consultation to update local people and enable their concerns and anger to be heard on this issue. I am awaiting their response to my request.
“We need to see action from the Minister and the Board if we are to retain this important service for the people of Waringstown.”
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