Drive to get mass letter sent to Department of Health

A LETTER intended to be circulated amongst the public in order to send a resounding message to the Department of Health (DoH) has been brought out by the Save Our Acute Services (SOAS) group.

Launched at the group’s public meeting at Fermanagh House this week, SOAS hope to have 10,000 copies signed and sent to the DoH permanent secretary, Peter May, and also to the chief executive of the Western Trust, Neil Guckian in order to protest the loss of emergency general surgery at the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH).

The letter lists SOAS five-point plan to reform healthcare in Fermanagh before going onto read below:


“I fully support the SOAS plan for the SWAH. My response to the Western Trust consultation is that I agree with the above SOAS plan as an alternative proposal to the temporary suspension of emergency general surgery at the SWAH.”

Cllr Donal O’Cofaigh told the meeting: “The Trust has really challenged us as a community. The five-point plan that we’ve proposed attempts to identify the key elements that need to take place to restore emergency services at our SWAH.

“What we need to do is to get the (Trust) board out. Our focus is to be back amongst the community, to get people to understand what we’re talking about and then for them to put an unbearable pressure on whatever needs to happen.

“We need to organise meetings in parish halls, community centres or do sign-ups in sports clubs, arts clubs and workplaces to get people to sign the letters in numbers.

“It’s an ambitious plan but we need to get the word out.

“We want to be handing in 10,000 of these letters to the Department of Health and the chief executive of the Western Trust.”

Meanwhile, Helen Hamill of SOAS warned that moving facilities from the SWAH to Altnagelvin Hospital would only be passing on an extra workload to under pressure staff at the Derry facility.


She added: “A lot of people have talked about the two-tier system at Altnagelvin which is quite inhuman.

“Yet patients understand because the Trust are asking Altnagelvin staff to cope with an extra workload of 28 per cent – which they can’t manage with what they’ve got.

“It’s not fair – it’s an entire fail from the Trust and everybody is suffering.”

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