Babies transferred as SWAH neonatal service slashed

SICK BABIES are being transferred away from Fermanagh and the neonatal service at SWAH has been slashed to just two cots, the Herald can reveal.

The life-saving unit at the Enniskillen hospital, which cares for sick and premature infants, is usually commissioned for six specialist cots. Due to ongoing staff shortages, this has been cut to just two. This, in turn, is creating concern about the future of the hospital’s maternity service.

In a statement released to the Herald this week, the Western Trust confirmed this meant SWAH could currently only provide short term or emergency care for babies, or stabilisation for their transfer to specialist care at neonatal units elsewhere if required.


“Any baby that requires ongoing neonatal care will be assessed and those that require short term care can remain on the unit,” said a Trust spokeswoman. “However, those that require a higher level of care will be transferred to another unit.”

The spokeswoman said that between October and December past, a total of six babies had been transferred to other neonatal units, but added “all these babies required a higher level of care and would always have been transferred accordingly, regardless of the current situation.”

As for that current situation, the spokeswoman said “staffing levels within neonatal at SWAH has been and remains an issue.”

“Despite actively trying to recruit, we have to date been unsuccessful in attracting and employing trained/experienced neonatal nurses to work in Enniskillen. We recognise that this is a regional and a national issue.”


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