Healthcare news

Private ministerial office built at hospital before collapse of devolution 'currently not in use'

A private ministerial office was built at South Tyrone Hospital in Dungannon just before the collapse of devolution

A PRIVATE ministerial office built at a hospital just before the collapse of devolution is not being used.

It was constructed at the South Tyrone Hospital in Dungannon towards the end of Michelle O'Neill's tenure as health minister.

The office cost almost £5,500 and is based in one of the former nurses' residences.

In January last year, the Department of Health said it would be used on "an ad hoc basis according to the minister's diary commitments" by the "minister and some of her private office staff for meetings".

The issue had been raised in an assembly question by UUP Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Rosemary Barton, who said that the public needed to "be supplied with a lot more details".

It was believed to be the first time a private ministerial office has been established within a hospital in Northern Ireland.

There has been no health minister in place for more than a year as efforts to restore devolution have failed.

Asked about the status of the office, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: "The ministerial private office located in the South Tyrone Hospital is currently not in use, however the Southern trust is currently considering its re-use."

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