Woman received palliative care package the day her husband died

health care meeting

The crowd in attendance at the healthcare meeting held in the South West College

IT WAS an opportunity for health service users to put their questions to the leaders who decide how our local health trust operates, where money is invested and what area will face significant cuts.

Caroline Kelly from the South West Carers Forum was one of 40 people who attended the event.


Ms Kelly questioned the overspend in recent years and how the system has now been left without enough money to pay for social workers.

“I represent carers who look after adults and children with disabilities,” she told the panel made up of leading health officials.

“Patients with disabilities and the community are not being assessed to determine their needs.

“They need to get a grip about what our actual needs are so you can spend money efficiently.”

Richard Pengally who is the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS), then told the audience that there is not enough money in the system to address all the social care services in Northern Ireland.

“We wish we had the money to provide services but we are going through difficult times,” he added.

Ms Kelly also raised issues surrounding palliative care in Fermanagh and what steps the trust is taking to secure localised services while a member of the audience also revealed that she received a care pack the day her husband died.


While Dean Sullivan, director of commissioning for the trust, admitted palliative care hasn’t had the same focus that other services have had, he revealed a major programme currently underway.

“A programme is being taken forward with Marie Curie which will be coming at the end of the year or beginning of next year. This will allow people to be supported if the person wants to die in a preferred place,” he explained.

Joe Lusby added: “Certainly this end of life care is a priority. There’s been an enhancement of care services as the vast majority of patients have expressed a wish to be cared for at home.”
The meeting also heard how patients have a 31 month wait for an assessment with an occupation therapist (OT) at a home.

Dr Ciaran Mullan, who is chaiman of the Western Local Commissioning Group, stated: “There has been some issues around OTs in sending scooping out provision on the ground. OT is crucial to re-homing and a 31 month waiting list is not acceptable.”

Mr Sullivan concluded: “There are not enough OTs in hospitals and not enough on our books to deliver the services, that’s why we are seeing the lengthy service and we have to prioritise those in greatest need.”

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