THERE is concern over reports doctors are leaving the South West Acute Hospital as a result of the ongoing issues over emergency general surgery, including working practices at the hospital.
Local campaign group Save Our Acute Services (SOAS) has told the Herald it is aware of several consultants who have left the hospital since the threat to the service emerged in the autumn, and are concerned more may follow.
Cllr Donal O’Cofaigh from SOAS said he was concerned over the resignations, “I’m definitely hearing of at least four consultants who have left since this decision was announced, and there are others considering their position on their future.”
Cllr O’Cofaigh, who hit out at the suggestion by Western Trust chief excutive Neil Guckian that staff could leave due to negative press coverage of the issue, referred to one doctor who resigned last month who had cited issues accessing surgical facilities as their reason for leaving.
“It poses a genuine question mark over the narrative they haven’t been able to recruit, and supports the narrative of those of us who believe that this has been a conscious decision to run down services at SWAH,” he said.
SOAS secretary Helen Hamill, pictured below, also expressed concern.
“We have heard from staff, and we have lost staff, while this process has been happening,” she said.
“Since we began as SOAS, since we heard there was a problem with our surgery rota at all, we have been told of resignations and we have addressed, as have the local media, the retention and staff recruitment as separate issues.
She added, “We have serious concerns as there have been issues raised by doctors in resignations which the Trust don’t wish to discuss.”
When contacted by the Herald regarding the resignation of one of the consultants just before Christmas, which the Herald had confirmed independently, a spokesman for the Trust said, “Due to confidentiality reasons, we do not comment on individual staffing matters.”
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