One year on SWAH campaign ‘determined as ever’

ONE year on since the Western Trust removed emergency general surgery (EGS) from the SWAH, Fermanagh’s politicians faced the public last week to answer to what they have been doing to help restore the life-saving service over the past 12 months.
Organised by Save Our Acute Services (SOAS) and facilitated by the Ulster Herald’s Alan Rodgers, the passionate debate at the Westville Hotel last Thursday night featured a panel of elected representatives from all five main political parties in the county.
They were, Tom Elliott MLA from the UUP, Cllr Eddie Roofe from the Alliance Party, Cllr Adam Gannon of the SDLP, Deborah Erskine MLA of the DUP, and Cllr Debbie Coyle from Sinn Féin.
While the crowd may have been relatively small compared to previous SOAS public events, over 18,000 more watched on from their homes around the county and beyond, via the Fermanagh Herald livestream on social media.
Proceedings were opened by SOAS chairman Reggie Ferguson, who recalled how the campaign had working hard to highlight the impact and danger of withdrawing of EGS from the SWAH ever since the Trust made its announcement last year.
“Everything we predicted would happen because of that [removal of EGS] has happened, and worse,” he said. “We are as determined now as we were 12 months ago to have that reversed.”
Mr Ferguson noted SOAS had been given a mandate by the people of Fermanagh and south Tyrone, with over 30,000 locals backing its ‘five point plan’ to save SWAH EGS.

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