THERE are fears that another service is in the process of being withdrawn from South West Acute Hospital.
It is believed that there is currently an issue with the Ears, Nose and Throat (ENT) department in South West Acute Hospital. The ENT sector deals with issues such as salivary glands problems, hearing problems, tonsillitis, and head and neck cancers.
Jill Weir, Branch Secretary of UNISON Omagh and Fermanagh Branch said, “I would have concerns because it looks like another withdrawal of another service from the southern sector of the Trust up to Altnagelvin Hospital. It has been suggested to me that it is because some of the consultants are not willing to travel down this far.
There seems to be a problem with consultants coming down to the Southern sector, especially if they are based in Altnagelvin. I hope this is not the case as people should expect the same service as anybody who lives near Altnagelvin Hospital.
“There has been a gradual withdrawal of ENT Services and I am very concerned that services are being withdrawn without any consultation with trade unions and we haven’t been made aware of this.”
“I have put in an e-mail with the Director of Acute Services, Geraldine McKnight, because I had been made aware of something happening in ENT a couple of weeks ago, and I wanted her to clarify it. I am still waiting on her to come back to me,” said Jill.
This fears over ENT services at SWAH follows on from the recent report in this paper that there are currently no consultants working within the respiratory and lung cancer services in Fermanagh.
Health campaigner and spokesman for Fermanagh Save our Services, Donal O’Cofaigh, believes the privatisation of services may be the cause of the problems.
“My understanding is that ENT consultants are doing a lot of private sector work in Ballykelly, and my fear is that this has become the priority rather than coming down to Fermanagh. This is all being done under-hand and not being open to public consultation. We need to open this up, and have active participation with the public so they can see what is happening with their NHS.”