Report suggests removal of SWAH maternity services

THERE is deep concern in Fermanagh today after a major health review suggested removing maternity services from the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH).

According to the BBC this morning the independent report on gynae services to the Department of Health said trusts needed to re-prioritise those waiting over a year for surgery, to bring down waiting times. It also suggested centralising maternity services, and called for consideration to be given to removing maternity from the Enniskillen hospital, just like has been done at the Causeway Hospital.

The report recommends the SWAH should instead be used as a gynaecological hub for outpatient and day cases.


As reported many times by the Herald since the removal of emergency general surgery (EGS) from the SWAH, including warnings from a whistleblower, there was already deep concern the obs and gynae service could be under threat due to staff leaving as a result of no longer having the backing of emergency general surgeons.

While this has been consistently and strenuously denied by the Western Trust, the report to the Department noted action was needed to solve “issue of Swah consultants leaving” for the Southern Trust.

The GRIFT (Getting It Right First Time) report, which was written by Dr David Richmond from the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and published by the Department of Health, did state the Western Trust itself had no plans for the “reconfiguration and centralisation of maternity services.”

Campaign group Save Our Acute Services (SOAS) has noted if maternity services are taken away from the SWAH, it will mean no babies will be born anywhere in Fermanagh or Tyrone.

Noting the Trust had given repeated assurances about the security of other SWAH services since the removal of EGS, SOAS said there appeared to be and “exdous” of services from the local hospital.

 “We are not the harbingers of bad news, but we are the people who have been pointing to precisely where the problem is. The problem is that you cannot trust this Trust,” said a SOAS spokesperson.

“Nobody has human rights extracted from them as we have. We have a right to healthcare and we have a right to equal access to that healthcare. Can you imagine a lady from south Fermanagh been asked to accept that she has to travel to a hospital in Atlanagelvin or in Craigavon? Both hospitals being passed to capacity to deliver a child once she is in.  


“Deliveries are not elective and babies are born when they are ready to be born. This is absolutely scandalous, and must not be allowed to happen.”

UPDATE HERE: Trust reassures public on SWAH maternity services

For more on this story see next week’s Fermanagh Herald.

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