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Baby boom at SWAH as mothers opt to travel to Enniskillen for births

AS CONCERNS persist over the staffing crisis as the SWAH’s neonatal unit, there is some good news at it is revealed birth rates at the hospital are soaring.

With the hospital’s neonatal unit currently only providing an emergency and stabilisation service for sick and pre-term babies, with its specialist cot capacity reduced from six to two as a result of severe staff shortages, there had been fears this could impact the number of babies being born at the hospital.

During a briefing on the current situation of the SWAH neonatal unit yesterday (Tuesday), however, it emerged this is not the case. In fact, since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, the hospital’s birth rate has been steadily rising.

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Mary McKenna, assistant director of health care and lead nurse of women and children’s services at the Western Trust, revealed mothers were travelling from other Trust areas, such the Southern Trust, to have their babies in Enniskillen.

“We’ve been looking back at our figures for delivery and in 2019 we had 1,197 deliveries.

In the following year we had 1,167 deliveries. Last year, 2021, our figures went up by another 100, to 1,286 deliveries,” she said.

“We believe this is because people are choosing to come to the South West Acute, because we have single room accommodation.

“With Covid, needless to say, people are very fearful going into hospital and going into environments where they think they’re at risk.”

Ms McKenna said it was “really positive” word of mouth was spreading about the good experience of mothers were having at the SWAH.

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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