Fermanagh outraged at ‘cultural issue’ comment

FERMANAGH patients are more than willing to travel for elective treatment, they are simply requesting equal access to timely treatment when it comes to emergency care.

That’s the message from Save Our Acute Services (SOAS) following local anger at comments made in a report to the Department of Health which stated there was “a cultural issue” in the area where patients did not wish to travel for treatment.

“There is a cultural issue, particularly in the west, with patients expecting all treatments and care to be provided locally,” wrote the authors of the recent ‘Getting it Right First Time’ report, which was commissioned by the Department.


They went on to point to an example where 37 out of 40 patients had “refused to travel and would wait further” when their appointments were moved from Altnagelvin to SWAH.

Many locals have branded this comment “demeaning” and “insulting,” with others pointing to the fact Fermanagh patients had no choice but to travel in emergency situations, whereas it appeared Altnagelvin patients were being given a choice for less urgent appointments.

A spokeswoman for SOAS said, “To imply it is a culture is absolutely offensive. It’s a very strange and disrespectful use of language for Fermanagh patients.

“It’s an anecdotal reference to a group of patients based in Derry who will not travel here. We have no choice but to travel there, and when we’re travelling there we’re going so with a possible emergency.”

They added, “Patients in Fermanagh are willing to travel for elective treatment, nobody minds travelling for elective, but not for emergency treatment.”

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