WITH meetings and protests continuing across the county this week, the community in Belleek came together at the weekend to show its opposition to the withdrawal of emergency surgery from the SWAH.
Belleek is one of the Fermanagh villages to be most impacted by the withdrawal of life-saving service, given its distance from other hospitals, and on Sunday community groups, local politicians, and locals turned out in force for a protest at the iconic Belleek Pottery.
Those present included Belleek Development and Heritage Group (BDHG), Belleek Men’s and Women’s Sheds, Erne Gaels, The Golden Years Club, local business representatives, and churches.
Chair of the BDHG, Andy Murie, said, “The very idea that surgery services could be transferred to Altnagelvin or Craigavon is too shocking to contemplate and any decision to do so would without doubt mean people will die because a life saving operation is out of their reach.
“As you can see from today there is nothing that brings a community together like the threat of a vital health service being removed.”
Local MLA Jemma Dolan said the withdrawal of the emergency surgery service was due to a failure to recruit and retain the necessary surgeons at the hospital.
She called on the Western Trust to publish its plan to restore the service, as “vague assurances just will not do.”
“The people of Fermanagh (and South Tyrone) need clarity from the Trust on the steps they have taken to date, but most importantly, the actions they will now take, to ensure emergency surgical services at SWAH are urgently restored,” said Ms Dolan.
Cllr John Coyle said he was “delighted to stand alongside my neighbours and friends against the cuts to consultant general surgery.”
“As we live in the most rural area in the north we need to be protected when it comes to emergency health care. Western Trust has many questions to answer and the communication is disastrous.”
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