Urgent search for more safety gear for brave workers

THE WESTERN Trust has been “relentlessly trying” to source more supplies of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for its local staff, as it gears up for an expected surge in Covid-19 patients this week.  Since the outbreak began concerns have been growing that staff at SWAH and other health care workers in the area did not […]


Answering the call: retired nurse returns to frontline

FRANCIS Smith, a former sister over the Critical Care Unit at SWAH has came out of retirement in order to help her colleagues in one of the toughest and most frightening battles she has faced in a career that spans over 29 years.  Speaking to the Herald about this experience and coming back to the […]

Trust fails to explain huge underspend on mental health

A CASE of “post-code lottery” could be the reason why accessing mental health counselling is “nearly impossible” for people across Fermanagh.  Sara Boyce from the PPR (participation and practice of rights) confirmed that only 70% of GP practices offer in-house counselling within the Western Trust area, with the percentage for Fermanagh even lower. Speaking to […]


Missed appointments costing Trust £1.5m

MISSED patient appointments cost the Western Trust £1.5 million last year. In 2019 over 9000 people did not attend their appointments.  The missed appointments have resulted in a significant loss to the budget over the period.  Now, the Trust has asked for greater co-operation in a bid to reduce non-attendance so “valuable resources and staff […]


Alarm over sharp rise in attacks on hospital staff

INCIDENTS of physical attacks reported by staff at the South West Acute Hospital have experienced a sharp rise.  Over a twelve month period the number of reported attacks rose by almost 40 percent. Figures released following a Freedom of Information request by the Fermanagh Herald outline a total of 68 reported physical attacks on staff […]


Less than half SWAH emergency patients seen within 4hrs

THE number of patients who had to wait more than 12 hours to be seen at the SWAH Emergency Department (ED) has increased dramatically this winter.   While there was also an increase in the number of people attending ED, the Western Trust has said the reason for the growing waiting times has been due […]

Staff shortages lead to postponed surgeries

A spokesman for the Western Trust has confirmed that staffing shortages in Altnagelvin Hospital have impacted theatre capacities this week.  A spokesman said, “The Trust is currently experiencing issues with theatre staffing shortages in Altnagelvin Hospital and as a result not all theatres are running at capacity. “In order to ensure the number of staff […]


Nurses gearing up for strike action over pay

NURSES may take industrial action in the  coming weeks over staffing levels and pay. There are currently around 3,000 vacancies across the North, including hundreds in the Western Trust area, with shortages placing extra pressures on staff to patient ratio.  There are fears that strike action could have a devastating effect on the local health […]

Figures reveal more patients forced to travel

NEW figures have revealed what most patients here in the county already knew, that Fermanagh people are asked to travel for treatment more often than patients elsewhere in the Western Trust.  The South West Carers and Families (SWCF) group have been carrying out research into the issue of outpatient appointments, and recently submitted a freedom […]


SWAH may lose day surgeries to specialist centres

PLANS are currently in motion that could see a swathe of different day surgeries taken out of SWAH, resulting in local patients having to travel to specialist centres instead.  Already many Fermanagh patients have had their cataract surgeries moved to Magherafelt as part of the Department of Health’s Elective Care Plan.  Similarly, all varicose vein […]