Public urged to stay alert to threats to SWAH services

THE FERMANAGH community is being urged to stay alert to any future threats to the SWAH stroke unit, and to be wary of the current potential threat to its emergency services.

Last week there was relief after Health Minster Robin Swann announced he was dropping previous options outlined in the ‘Reshaping Stroke Care’ review, due to the strong public response against the proposals.

Four of the six options outlined in that review had proposed closing the SWAH stroke unit, in favour of the creation of ‘hyperacute’ stroke care centres. The proposals had prompted thousands here in the county to both come out to public meetings protesting the proposals, and thousands more to respond to the public consultation.


In the foreword to the ‘Reshaping Stroke Services’ action plan published by the Department of Health last week, Minister Swann said he had listened to the 19,000 public responses to the consultation – many of which were from Fermanagh – and would not be moving forward with the proposals for the moment.

However, Minister Swann also noted he remained “convinced” of the need for the hyperacute model, and would be revisiting the review when future funding allowed.

Fermanagh and Omagh branch manager at the union Unison, Jill Weir, welcomed news the unit was safe for now, but said local people would be alert to any future threats of closure.

“We note that the Minister has recognised that there are legitimate concerns around the location of stroke services. As part of undertaking a fresh analysis, we hope that the minister will take into consideration all of the evidence and concerns from our location.

“I don’t believe that this is the end of our fight but am assured that if needed the people will come out again to protect this local, award-winning service.

“We were proud to be a part of the local campaign ‘Save our Stroke Services’, headed by the Fermanagh Stroke Support Group and will do so again if called.”

Meanwhile, a Western Trust review is ongoing into emergency surgery, which could see the service removed from the hospital to a centralised location within the Trust area, while a Department of Health consultation on emergency and urgent care opened now closing at the end of the week.


With fears the ‘next big battle’ could now be to protect our emergency services, the people of Fermanagh are being urged to stand ready to fight once again.

“Obviously if we lose emergency surgery there will be question marks over the stability of all other services, including stroke,” said Cllr Donal O’Cofaigh, who told the Herald he had genuine concerns about the future of emergency care at the SWAH due to the current consultation.

Cllr O’Cofaigh said the consultation was “providing a framework within which they could take forward the decision to close emergency surgery at SWAH.”

To have your say on the consultation, which closes this Friday, visit

To read more.. Subscribe to current edition

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere


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