Health poll: Staffing levels, waiting lists, long journeys for hospital appointments among main issues

Councillor Rosemary Barton   SH75

UUP Councillor Rosemary Barton SH75

A LOCAL councillor has indicated that she ‘anticipated’ the result in the Fermanagh Herald’s poll on healthcare within the county.

Independent Councillor Bernice Swift said that the majority of the constituent’s contacting her is because of health-related issues.


She explained: “This ranges from operation waiting lists for long awaited surgery, problems in A and E Departments, not enough staff to deal with patients causing long waiting or neglect for patients when in wards, a lack of beds, lack of services in rural areas, complaints about having to travel long distances to either Derry or Belfast for cancer treatment, lack of effective intervention for elderly care, scant help for those with addictions, poor standards for those who are depressed and suicidal -this is to name but a few.”

She added: “Some individuals will have a very positive hospital experience, but for all those who don’t the issues must be highlighted and addressed so as not to happen in future.”

Cllr Swift added that it is ‘vital’ that the new health minister Jim Wells ‘refutes any cuts which will adversely impact the well-being of Fermanagh patients’.

Similarly, UUP Councillor Rosemary Barton said that she was concerned with the results of the poll.

“I was very disappointed to learn through this online poll that the majority of people in the county (54%) are so dissatisfied with the standard of healthcare provided,” she said.

“While we have a ‘state-of-the-art’ hospital in Enniskillen with the most up-to-date facilities and equipment, I have been aware of issues in relation to long waiting lists for initial consultations especially for orthopaedics and the related surgery, much of which is performed elsewhere in the Western Trust area.”

Councillor Barton also said that concerns have been raised to her over staffing levels in some wards and the ‘loneliness’ of the single patient rooms.


She went on: “However one must remember that healthcare not only centres around the hospital but around the health centres together the with the dental, ophthalmology and mental heath services.

“Unfortunately further cuts in the health budget can only impact all our health care services with a detrimental effect on patient care.

“Already hospitals and GP surgeries have voiced their concerns about the lack of funding as A and E and outpatient appointments increase together with cuts ranging from older peoples services to younger people services.”

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