South West Acute Hospital: Health trust managers heckled at public meeting

A heated public meeting has taken place in Enniskillen to discuss the future of emergency general surgery at the South West Acute Hospital.

Senior management at the Western Health Trust were heckled during the event.

Emergency general surgery at the hospital was temporarily suspended in December.

The Western Trust said the move was necessary to protect the public’s safety after it had problems recruiting surgical staff.

A public consultation on the plan was launched earlier this month.

Monday evening was the first of the public events. A number of people protested outside.

Some of those opposed to the plans have said that regardless of matters raised at the meeting, the outcome of the consultation is pre-determined and nothing will change.

However, Dr Brendan Lavery, medical director of the Western Trust said: “The idea behind today is we’re going to present the facts behind what has happened, we’re going to listen to the public and no final decision has been made.

“This is a public consultation, our role really is to listen, we are public servants and that is what we’re going to do.”

Speakers were frequently interrupted during the meeting as people expressed their anger at the situation.

After the meeting, one woman told BBC Newsline: “The fear is this is going to have a domino effect for our casualty and for maternity services.

“This is the start of it and we simply cannot afford to allow this to take place.”

Another said: “The whole thing is a disaster, it’s a shame the way they are doing this to our town.”

The hospital’s emergency department and other services including obstetrics will continue to operate as normal.

There will be seven public consultation events as well as virtual sessions and the trust will also be engaging with staff.

The consultation process will run until April and the trust said a final decision will be made in the summer.


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