THE ENTIRE Fermanagh community is being called to join in the fight to save emergency surgery at the South West Acute Hospital, as the deadline for the service’s future fast approaches.
Despite a determined effort by a group of hard working community volunteers, and widespread coverage online and in local papers – with the Herald covering this story from as far back as April – it has emerged that many in the county are still unaware of the serious threat to the life-saving service and the devastating consequences it could have on other services at our local hospital.
Last month the Western Trust confirmed that staffing levels at the SWAH emergency surgery department had become so low that if new surgeons were not recruited ASAP the service would have to be removed from the hospital. While the Trust continues to state it has not yet made any decision on the future of the service, it is understood it could be removed as soon as early December.
A major public rally is being planned for the Broadmeadow in Enniskillen for 7pm on Friday, December 2nd, while another ‘hands around the hospital’ demonstration is scheduled for the week before on November 26th. Meanwhile, volunteers are continuing to host public information meetings around the county, with meetings in Garrison, Newtownbutler and Derrylin planned for the week ahead. However, at a working meeting of the Save Our SWAH Services held at Fermanagh House on Monday evening, many reported experiencing confusion and a lack of knowledge from the general public when discussing the issue or handing out information leaflets.
To that end, the group has urged everyone who is aware of the threat to spread the word in any way they can, stressing ‘people power’ could still help save the service.
“We need this to go out to local clubs, local sports, local Orange Hall, local churches – absolutely everywhere,” said committee member Helen Hamill.
“This is a cross-community campaign. If you have a heart attack, it doesn’t matter where you came from or who you voted for.”
For extensive coverage on this issue see this week’s Fermanagh Herald. Can’t get to the shop to collect your copy? No problem! You can download a copy straight to your device by following this link https://bit.ly/3gOl8G0
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