Fermanagh GAA backs SWAH campaign

FERMANAGH GAA has given its strong backing to the community campaign to restore emergency general surgery at the South West Acute Hospital.
Representatives from the local GAA have been regular attendees at various Save Our Acute Services (SOAS) meetings and events since the service was suspended last year, including the recent rally at the Diamond in Enniskillen, and now Fermanagh GAA county secretary Tom Boyle has included a report on the situation in the 2023 County Convention report.
Due to be delivered at the County Convention on Monday night, Mr Boyle’s article highlights how not only is the removal of the emergency surgery service from the SWAH a direct concern in itself, but added the knock-on impact this was having on the local ambulance service was also worrying.
Writing about how all local clubs will have had to call on emergency service at some time – whether for injured players or supporter taking ill – he referred to the SOAS-commissioned research by Ulster University which showed how over 83,000 residents in Fermanagh and South Tyrone were now “significantly” outside the critical 60 minute window of emergency surgical access.
“The average time for the entire population of Fermanagh is now 113 minutes,” said Mr Boyle. “This is unacceptable.
“The time to treatment from any actual injury would be much longer because of the pressures on our ambulance service.”
Noting Fermanagh GAA organised games at both youth and adult level, and facilitated inter-county competitions, he said player injuries could cover anything from broken bones to serious head injuries, which can often require “immediate emergency intervention at the local hospital.”
“If injured players have to be driven directly to Altnagelvin Hospital with a serious injury, their lives are potentially put at risk,” he said, noting players coming from grounds in the likes of Roslea had very long distances to travel.
Mr Boyle added it was not just GAA players being put at risk, but fans too, with Brewster Park in Enniskillen attracting significant crowds for some games.
“We have a spectator capacity of 18,000, but on average we get crowds of between 5,000 and 12,000, for a bigger championship game,” he said.
“In the event of sickness or injury to players, staff or spectators, the importance of having immediate access to hospital-based services is vital.
“We’ve experience over the last number of years of players, referees, spectators and members of the public requiring medical attention, which resulted in them having to be taken to hospital by ambulance.
“With large crowds gathering at one venue there’s also a risk of a major incident occurring that would require a multi-agency response.
“The importance of having immediate hospital services within Fermanagh is paramount.”
Mr Boyle, pictured below, urged all the GAA delegates at this year’s County Convention to express their concerns about the situation “at every opportunity.”

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