Lochside Garage

Growing concerns over findings of stroke unit report

FEARS are growing for what an impending report may recommend for the future of stroke services at SWAH. 
Local stroke campaigners are currently investigating figures revealed in a response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request placed by Herald with the Department of Health. The Herald had asked how many responses had been received from each area as part of the Reshaping Stroke Services public consultation, held last summer. It’s response has baffled local campaigners. 
 The Department stated it had received 19,510 responses had been received as part of the Reshaping Stroke Care public consultation. Of these, it said 489 responses had come from the Coleraine area, 12,324 had been received from the Newry area, and 6,097 had come from the Fermanagh and Omagh area. 
The Department added a consultation analysis report was due to be published in the “upcoming weeks.” 
Local campaign group, Save Our Stroke Services, has now questioned those figures and said it will be “looking into” the Department’s response.
“Save Our Stroke Services Fermanagh is now doing an investigation into the response to this FOI. This is the first time we have seen these figures,” said group chairman Stephen McAloon. 
“At this stage we can’t agree with the figures, and we are doing are own investigation into the figures.”
Mr McAloon added the group would also be requesting a meeting with Health Minister Robin Swann before any decision was taken on the future of SWAH stroke services, which are recognised as among the best in Europe. 
Thousands of Fermanagh people turned out at local meetings held since it emerged there was a threat to the local service in 2016, including as part of a public consultation process which closed last September. 
The public consultation process followed the release of the Reshaping Stroke Service plan released in March last year, which put recommended the number of hyperacute stroke units in the North be reduced from eight to between five and three. Of the six suggested options in the report, only three would ensure SWAH services be retained. 

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA