Belleek school girl’s impassioned plea to health chiefs

THE FIRST baby girl ever to be born at the SWAH has written to the Department of Health pleading for it to help save the emergency surgery service at the South West Acute Hospital.
Ten-year-old Ava Crowell is a P7 pupil at St Davog’s PS in Belleek, and is trying to raise awareness of the campaign to save the hospital. Last week she wrote to permanent secretary at the Department of Health, Peter May, who is now in charge in the absence of a health minister, highlighting the risk to the health and wellbeing of all people in the local area if the service collapses.
In her hand-written letter, Ava explained how she was the first girl born at the hospital in June 2012.
“I am really sad to hear that emergency surgical operations may be stopping at the SWAH,” she wrote. “This could affect the future of our hospital.
“I live in Belleek which is one of the most rural villages in Co Fermanagh, on the border with Co Donegal. If emergency services are withdrawn people would have to travel to hospitals in Derry or Craigavon.
“These places are too far away from Belleek and people could die before they get there.”
She concluded, “We need our hospital to stay as it is for the safety of all the people in Co Fermanagh.”
St Davog’s staff are proud of Ava’s efforts to help the community campaign, with a spokeswoman noting the community in their area would be one of the worst impacted by the removal of emergency surgery for SWAH. They said Ava was urging people around the county to join the campaign to save the service.
“The people of Belleek and the surrounding areas will the worst affected by a closure of the hospital as we live the furthest from Derry and Craigavon,” said the spokeswoman. “Why should we continue to be the forgotten people, are young and old to be put in danger?
“Ava urges all people in the area to write to their local area representatives to highlight the needs of everyone in the area, to find addresses and further information regarding protests and possible solutions to this on-going crises.
“Everyone in this rural community needs to stand together to come up with creative solutions to retain services at our local hospital as we will all need the hospital, it’s staff and services at some time in our lives.”

Ava Crowell’s letter to SWAH

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