Calls for Trust to protect live-saving heart programme

THE WESTERN Trust has been urged to ensure a “hugely successful” cardiovascular health programme continues locally, following news the consultant who pioneered the programme is to leave her post at the SWAH.
The Herald understands award-winning consultant cardiologist Dr Susan Connolly is to leave her post at the Enniskillen hospital. Dr Connolly pioneered the preventative ‘Our Hearts Our Minds’ programme in 2019, which has so far helped keep hundreds of local patients healthy.
When announcing funding for the nurse-led programme back in 2018, which was in the region of £1 million annually at the time, Dr Connolly had been adamant local people in Fermanagh would benefit as much as those living in Derry or Omagh.
“You can be sure that the people in Fermanagh will get as much of this service as they need,” Dr Connolly told the Herald at the time.
In December, the Western Trust hailed the success of the programme, which had gone virtual during the pandemic, noting how it had significantly reduced hundreds of local patients’ risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease.
When asked about reports of Dr Connolly’s departure, a spokeswoman for the Trust said it did not comment on individual employee matters.
When asked about the future of the OHOM programme, the spokeswoman said, “Cardiology services are delivered across the Trust by a group of permanent and locum medical staff.
“Our Hearts Our Minds Programme forms part of the Trust wide cardiology service and is delivered by a Trust wide team which ensures stability of the service should there be changes to workforce. As with any Consultant vacancies that arise these will be recruited to via established Trust processes.”
Cllr Donal O’Cofaigh called for the Trust to provide details on the reasons for the loss of Dr Connolly, stating the situation was “concerning.”
“We also need to see clarity around the Trust’s continued commitment to fund the Our Hearts Our Minds programme, which has been hugely successful,” he said.
“This is a programme that is now being replicated elsewhere in other jurisdictions because it has been so successful, and it is vital we see it continued in our area. It is making a huge difference to people’s lives.”

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