Up to 75% of ‘normal’ SWAH appointments not going ahead

TRUST officials have warned that cuts to services at SWAH could be inevitable due to the demands of a second Covid wave, with as many as three quarters of procedures and appointments not going ahead in some cases.
While the threat of Covid-19 continues to have an adverse effect on other aspects of the health service here in Fermanagh, representatives from the Western Trust reveal that “no clear decision has been made yet” in relation to further cuts to other vital services.
Speaking to the Herald, Director of Acute Services, Geraldine McKay revealed that services at SWAH had still not returned to full capacity prior to what it was before Covid.
When asked about the reasoning behind this, Ms McKay admitted, “We had staff shielding up until the end of August and some continue to do so.
“There is a number of variables with regards to staff being off and services limited. We have staff off due to maternity leave as they can’t work on the frontline from 28 weeks.
“There’s a number of reasons why as a Trust and a region we haven’t got back up to 100 percent provision, particularly across an elective capacity.
“The majority of things that we are providing like our out-patient and in-patient cases have ranged from about 25 to 40 percent and we have tried to continue to do that.”
However, Ms McKay claimed that further changes could be on the horizon for service shortages at SWAH, “We have had to make some changes at this minute in time. I met with consultants on Friday so that we could review what they’re currently doing in out-patients at the minute.
“I tried to attempt just for their safety as well as everyone else’s to think about reducing contact and to think again about enhancing their virtual work.
“We haven’t made any clear decision yet around stopping anything but given the pressures today, I think we are coming close to that and we will make those decisions as and when we need to.”
She continued, “This is an extremely challenging position for us across all sites and in terms of how we do our business and what services we can provide at this time.
“I want to assure you that as of today (Monday) we are still providing cancer surgery, clinically urgent surgery and day case orthopaedic surgery in various hospitals across the Trust. In terms of maintaining services, it is very challenging and it is being reviewed on a daily basis.”

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