THE CHAIRMAN of the Save Our SWAH Services committee has urged the public to hold their political representatives to account if they fail to back the campaign to save emergency surgery at the Enniskillen hospital.
Reggie Ferguson was speaking at a working meeting held at Fermanagh House recently, during which he outlined how the work the committee had been doing, such as recruiting volunteers to organise public meetings, and handing out information leaflets.
The group is also calling for a frank meeting between committee members, members of the Western Trust board, and the permanent secretary from the Department of Health to discuss options in the light of the threat facing emergency surgery at the SWAH.
Calling on those who are making the decisions to engage with the community, he said, “In the meantime what we want from the Trust is a commitment that the emergency surgery and any other parts under threat will be maintained until the issues can be properly addressed.
“In other words, if they are short some surgeons here then what about getting them temporarily from other trusts in Belfast particularly, which must be coming down with surgeons.”
Mr Ferguson also called on the community to hold their political representatives to account.
“Their response to date, with one or two honourable exceptions, has been luke warm, I would’ve thought,” he said. “The response from some of the politicians has been less than wholehearted, for whatever reason I’m not sure, but we will have to engage them.
“We need them acting for us, we need them to know this is one of the most significant issues for a long time, and if they don’t come up to scratch they should feel it in their neck at the next elections.
“That’s what happens in other jurisdictions. We simply tend to vote people in because they’re fathers have always done it, and he’s always done it, but if they’re no good, if they’re not helping you, you should remember that at the next election.”
Mr Ferguson also called on the people of Fermanagh, who he said aren’t generally good at protesting, to look to their neighbours for examples of standing up for local services.
“Fermanagh people are decent people, it takes a lot to get them raised and out on the streets, he said. “If you look at somewhere like Donegal, they’re past masters at it, they’re very good at it.
“We have to get tougher and we have to be prepared to do things we never envisaged. We need to shout.”
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