THERE are currently no consultants working within the respiratory and lung cancer services in Fermanagh, the Herald has learned.
Ahead of tomorrow night’s meeting about proposed cuts to the services at South West Acute Hospital, the Trust has confirmed that there are ongoing issues affecting the provision of respiratory services across the Western Trust, particularly within the Fermanagh area.
The Western Trust Respiratory Team provides services for diseases including Asthma, Lung Cancer, Pneumonia and Bronchiectasis.
A source contacted the Herald saying, “There seems to be a crisis at the minute with respiratory services and lung cancer services in this sector of the Trust. There are currently no consultants. I would like to know who is looking after these patients in Fermanagh?”
When questioned about the service, a spokesman for the Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) said: “There are currently ongoing issues regarding sick leave affecting the provision of respiratory services across the Western Trust, particularly within the Fermanagh area.
“The Trust is working in conjunction with other Health Trusts across Northern Ireland and the Health and Social Care Board to rectify the situation as a matter of urgency.”
The spokesman continued: “The Western Trust apologises for any inconvenience this has caused to patient services.”
However health campaigner and spokesman for Fermanagh Save our Services, Donal O’Coffaigh said the news was alarming given the growing concerns about the future of a number of services at SWAH.
“This is a very concerning development. The fact that this is only exposed by investigative journalism is even more concerning.
“It might seem that there are health cuts ongoing that the Trust does not want people to find out about while our attention is focused on the wider consultation on the health cuts that they are proposing and the review of the stroke services.
“It is absolutely essential that a consultant is brought into the county to provide this service. We have a £724 million hospital and increasingly more and more services are being removed from it, both overtly and covertly.”
Meanwhile, a public meeting on the £12.5 million cost cutting proposals by the Western Trust takes place at the Lakeland Forum tonight (Thursday, September 28) from 7pm-9pm. For full details on these cuts, visit the Western Trust’s website.
Donal O’Cofaigh urged local people to take a stand against these cuts.
“It is time that the people send out a strong signal that we will not accept it and I am calling for people to come out tomorrow evening and tell the Trust that we are not accepting any diminution to our health service.
“We all pay our taxes and we deserve a decent health service that is local and that we do not have to travel to Belfast for. We need these services locally provided,” he added.
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