ALMOST TWO months after it was closed due to the Covid crisis, the children’s ward at SWAH is to be reopened.
The ward had been temporarily closed, and neonatal services reduced, to free up beds as the health service gears up for the expected ‘surge’ in Covid-19 patients. Last week the Western Trust announced that, with patient numbers continuing to fall, services at SWAH were beginning to return to normal. As part of this, paediatric services will be reinstated at the hospital this Monday, May 25.
Speaking last week after local councillors had been given reassurances by Trust chief Dr Anne Kilgallen that the services would restored imminently, Cllr Donal O’Cofaigh commended the Trust for the way in which it had handled the announcement of the ward closure and for committing to its reassurances to reopen it.
He added, however, that the impact its temporary loss had on the community proved why it the services should be protected in the long term.
“Unfortunately I am aware that during this period of closure a number of families have had to travel long-distances to Altnagelvin to visit children,” he said, “Due to the need for social-isolating visitor numbers were restricted in some cases to one family leaving others outside for the duration.
“The human impact of closing facilities in SWAH has been made all too clear over these recent weeks. There is a pressing geographical necessity for the retention of as many front-line services as possible in Enniskillen given our county’s geographical peripherality. In particular under no circumstances should austerity funding cuts drive the closure of NHS services.”