Election may delay decision on South West stroke unit

Michelle O'Neill at South West Acute Hospital, Enniskillen during a recent visit

Michelle O’Neill at South West Acute Hospital, Enniskillen during a recent visit

FRESH concerns have been raised about the future of the state-of-the-art stroke unit at the South West Acute Hospital in light of a regional review of stroke services.
The Western Trust have repeatedly stressed that they intend to keep the unit open and highlighted the fact that it “provides excellent care and treatment services to the local population.”
The fear is that the outcome of a review of services may take it out of its hands. A review by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) and what its recommendations are for stroke services locally had been expected in February. However it emerged at last week’s healthcare consultation in Enniskillen that this could now be delayed because of the forthcoming elections. The comment was made by an official from the Department of Health in response to local concerns.
Speaking at Tuesday night’s meeting in the Killyhevlin Hotel, Patricia Donald, chairman of South West Ageing Partnership said: “We have great concern in particular about our stroke unit, which is extremely good and we hope that instead of sending people to Belfast, they will be sent to our unit in Enniskillen.”
Richie McPhillips MLA, who has continually highlighted concerns over the retention of stroke services in Enniskillen, told the Herald he still remains “fearful”.
“Like everybody else I would like to see the retention of the top-performing stroke unit in Enniskillen for the people of Fermanagh. It’s essential that this is the case.”
Outgoing health minister, Michelle O’Neill, recently wrote to Fermanagh and Omagh councillors to outline that a ‘new model’ on stroke services would be developed in light of recommendations included in the regional review completed by RQIA.
In a letter to the council, Ms O’Neill reiterated that the Western Health and Social Care Trust had no plans to

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