Urgent call for SWAH to be put into special measures

THERE have been calls for the Department of Health to immediately intervene and take over the running of the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH), after a group of former SWAH doctors raised concerns that poor management was risking patient safety at the Enniskillen hospital.

Last week investigative journalism website The Detail published an interview with a group of doctors who had all left the SWAH in recent years, which you can read here.

The doctors outlined a series of serious concerns about how the hospital was being run, including regarding serious understaffing issues, difficulties accessing SWAH theatres, about complaints from staff being ignored, and about an alleged toxic culture that had seen staff being severely overworked.


Now, community group Save Our Acute Services (SOAS) has revealed it has written to the Department permanent secretary Peter May to request the Department intervenes and puts the SWAH into special measures.

SOAS has also written to the health safety regulator to ask it to review issues at the hospital, where most emergency surgery services were suspended in December, and has reiterated its backing of the Council’s call for an independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the loss of emergency and urgent surgery at the hospital.

A SOAS spokesman noted that, in responding to the group, Mr May had previously ignored its calls for intervention.

“We are very disappointed by the response received from the Permanent Secretary,” said a SOAS spokesman. “As exposed by The Detail, there are allegations highlighting a toxic management culture at SWAH – which are leading clinicians to have concerns for patient safety and that our population is being unnecessarily put at risk.

“It seems that the Department is content to allow the current situation to continue unchallenged.

“SOAS has written back to the Permanent Secretary highlighting the concerns that have been raised by medical professionals demanding that he acts to address the resulting risk to patient safety. We have also written to the Regulatory and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) – the body responsible for overseeing standards in public health institutions – to request they conduct a preliminary investigation into issues relating to patient safety at SWAH.”

For more on this story see Wednesday’s Fermanagh Herald!


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