Ringfenced beds at SWAH ‘difficult to maintain’

DESPITE assurances of around two ringfenced beds for patients transferred from South West Acute Hospital (SWAH) to Altnagelvin Hospital for emergency general surgery, the Western Health and Social Care Trust has confirmed this proved “difficult to maintain” and the beds were reallocated.
However, it has since been stressed the beds have been reinstated as of last week.
At the most recent meeting of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council Independent Independent Councillor Josephine Deehan, pictured below, informed members: “It’s my understanding there aren’t any ringfenced beds to accommodate any inter-transfer beds between SWAH and Altnagelvin. Clarification was given by the lead of the Western Commissioning Group that beds are found for patients from the Emergency Department purely on the basis of clinical need. There is a triage operation and patients will be prioritised for beds according to that.”
She continued: “This is not acceptable because we were given assurances when emergency general surgery services were removed from SWAH there would be ringfenced beds to accept those transfers. I propose further clarification should be obtained from the Western Trust.”
This was seconded by Sinn Féin Councillor Barry McElduff supported by Councillor Adam Gannon SDLP who said: “If we take what we are told by the [Western] Commissioning Group, these ringfenced beds don’t exist and never existed. I’m being careful in what I say as I don’t want to end up threatened with being sued like my colleagues were in the past, but essentially the Western Trust put out false information in their consultation. [Ringfenced beds] were included as numerous mitigating factors around emergency general surgery in the consultation.

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