Concerns over SWAH radiology shortage

FERMANAGH patients have been having to travel to Altnagelvin for some radiology services in recent months, however the Western Trust has stated the service should be restored to its previous capacity at the SWAH by November.

As previously reported by the Herald, some patients who require certain forms of scans and procedures have had to travel to Derry for the service, with one local woman spending five days as an inpatient at Altnagelvin waiting on her CT scan.

The Trust has told the Herald the non-complex interventional radiology service at the SWAH has been reduced due the departure of a consultant from the hospital earlier this year.


As outlined in its consultation document, the interventional radiology service had been operating on a “limited” basis prior to the suspension of emergency general surgery (EGS) at the SWAH.

“This limited service in SWAH was provided by one permanent consultant radiologist, with no service available at weekends, out of hours or when this consultant was on leave,” a Trust spokesman told the Herald.

“This consultant subsequently left the Trust in spring 2023, which resulted in a further reduction in availability for these procedures in SWAH.”

They added, “Recent successful recruitment for consultant radiologists has taken place. Two consultants are due to start in SWAH in November 2023, both of whom carry out a range of non-complex interventional procedures.

“In the interim patients continue to take the opportunity to have their Interventions carried out in Altnagelvin Hospital.”

A spokesman for Save Our Acute Services (SOAS) said the ongoing reduction in the service was “concerning.”

“We are very concerned, because the significance of the role an interventional radiologist has in stabilisation,” they said. “Especially so when there are no consultant surgeons in the building.


“We are aware of the difficulties here accessing appropriate timely care for any serious trauma which is now further undermined in the absense of an interventional radiologist. We must have equal opportunities as everywhere else in Northern Ireland has. We refuse to be treated to second class treatment.”

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