Fermanagh community urged to come out for SWAH rally

THE PEOPLE of Fermanagh are preparing to take the fight for their lives to the next level this week, with everyone in the community urged to attend the major public rally to save SWAH services in Enniskillen tomorrow evening (Friday).

Now taking place at the Lakeland Forum, after concerns the ground at the adjacent Broadmedow would be too soft for such a large crowd, the demonstration is aimed at showing the Western Trust and the powers-that-be that the people of the county will not accept the withdrawal of live-saving emergency surgery from the South West Acute Hospital.

The rally begins at 7pm tomorrow, Friday, and everyone across the generations – from young school children to pensioners, teenagers to families – is being urged to attend.


Friday’s rally will come on the back of an emotional demonstration at the SWAH on Saturday, when young and old gathered in the rain to form a ‘Ring of Steel’ around the hospital. As the community formed its chain of support, clapping from staff and patients inside could be heard over the community’s chants of “save our SWAH.”

Campaigners from Save Our Acute Services have warned the campaign to save the service will be “a marathon not a sprint” but noted this Friday will be a major milestone on that journey.

“We might have required our wet weather shoes on Saturday, but we need our long distance shoes now, because this is going to be an ongoing battle,” said Ring of Steel organiser Dylan Quinn, who urged everyone who can to make it to the Forum tomorrow.

While the Trust has stated the withdrawal of the surgery service, which takes full effect from December 18th, is a temporary measure in light of dwindling staff numbers, it has also admitted it has no plan in place to restore the service if new surgeons are not recruited.

Local campaigners have been calling for creative solutions to be implemented to solve the crisis, such as employing locums or putting in place a rota system with staff from other hospitals. However, as reported by the Herald, standards set out in a regional review of surgical services by the Department of Health, published in June, have been making implementing such measures much harder.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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