General surgery move will only be ‘a sticking plaster’

WHILE local community campaign group Save Our Acute Services has cautiously welcomed comments from the Department of Health that elective surgeons could intervene in emergency situations at the SWAH in future, it has warned this will only be “a sticking plaster” to the current crisis.
Cllr Donal O’Cofaigh from SOAS said Western Trust chief executive Neil Guckian had recently alluded to such a move at a recent meeting on the SWAH crisis in Irvinestown, adding that it would depend on a lot of other factors.
Cllr O’Cofaigh said, however, he felt the community campaign in response to the crisis was starting to have an impact.
“I think the campaign has caught the imagination of the local community, and undoubtedly the political parties are now much more alert to the concerns of the community. I also think the Trust and the Department recognise the scale of opposition that exists in the community to the reduction in our acute services.
“The campaign is now moving from a campaign to stop the closure, to one calling for the restitution of the service. We’re going to need to deal with the misinformation being provided by the Trust and Department’s spokespeople.”
Cllr O’Cofaigh added the comments to the Herald from the Department were “welcome.”
“This is the first positive outcome from the campaign that we’ve seen,” he said.
“This is directly in contradiction to the guidance that was adopted in June of this year in the review of emergency surgery, which attempted to split very firmly surgeons performing elective and emergency care.
“This may result in lives being saved, so it is welcome, but it has to be said this is no where near what we require, it’s a sticking plaster solution.
“Again, there is no certainty even whether this will proceed. There’s no certainty whether the elective care centre will have a focus on general surgery, and there is no certainty, as Mr Guckian himself explained in the Irvinestown meeting, whether the funding necessary for this to have this sort of focus would be forthcoming from the Department.”
SOAS’s Helen Hamill, pictured below, noted the latest development once again contradicted previous statements from health chiefs.
“What I find very disconcerting is the number of unclear statements, which seem to contradict each other,” she said. “It’s very confusing, and could have an impact on it for staffing in other areas. There is no transparency, there seems to be so many versions of the actual truth.”

To read more.. Subscribe to current edition

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere


The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA