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Belfast Live
Belfast Live
Conor Coyle

Western Trust chief hits out at councillors over ‘damaging’ comments on SWAH crisis

The chief executive of the Western Trust has accused local councillors of Fermanagh and Omagh of ‘misinformation’ over its handling of the emergency general surgery crisis at the South West Acute Hospital.

Protestors gathered outside the Townhall in Enniskillen on Thursday night as a special meeting of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council took place after the Trust confirmed it would withdraw the service from 18 December.

Councillors voted to bring a legal challenge in the event of withdrawal of the service from the Co Fermanagh hospital, and also called for the Trust board to resign over its handling of the issue.

READ MORE: Western Trust confirms suspension of emergency surgery at South West Acute Hospital

In a fiery condemnation of the councillors’ actions, Neil Guckian said the actions of some councillors were ‘damaging’

“We will consult as required by our regulations. Professor Taylor will address your concerns regarding public health, this is extremely important given the misinformation being presented in the media and in council,” Guckian said.

“These changes, while being disappointing to many at this meeting from both sides, will improve outcomes for patients and be safer.”

The health chief added that he believed councillors’ calls for the Trust Board to resign and for the Western Trust to be put into special measures were ‘unprecedented’.

“In my 25 years as a Trust Board director and chief executive, I would regard this motion as unprecedented," he said.

“I remind council that until today no proposal has been approved and we have engaged closely with your health and social care committee.

“I would highlight that such motions attack the structure of health and social care locally and are as damaging to everyone who works in the Trust as they are for senior managers.

“To describe an overnight elective centre as a ‘glorified hotel’ is extremely disappointing, bordering insulting.

“To conclude, I want everyone at this meeting and listening to hear that South West Acute Hospital is a thriving, safe hospital with an excellent future and potential into the long term.”

The council meeting continues on Thursday night with councillors expected to hit back at the chief executive's comments.


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