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DUP Reps – ‘Hands off our Stroke Unit’

Fermanagh and South Tyrone DUP representatives have offered their support to the continuation of services at the South West Acute Hospital.

DUP leader Arlene Foster who has been in London this week stated, “It was very clear from the turnout at the Stroke meeting that the people in this area feel very strongly. We have many success stories coming from the SWAH Stroke Unit and it is important we celebrate its achievements here. Indeed the unit out performs hospitals in London and is recognised for its excellence.

It is imperative that a service such as this is not diminished in any way to ensure that the ‘golden hour’ we so often hear about in terms of stroke treatment is not lost. Time is of the essence particularly in an area such as Fermanagh which has no dual carriageways or motorways. Each minute makes the difference between life and death. 

I want to pay tribute to the people of Fermanagh and Tyrone from coming out and making their voice heard. It is an important exercise and one which should not stop with the meeting on Monday night (11th September 2017). We owe a great deal of gratitude to Professor Kelly and his team of excellent staff at the SWAH Stroke Unit. Monday’s meeting will serve as an encouragement to them, that we are behind them and the work they are so dedicated to.

I want to be in Government to ensure life saving decisions are made by our Ministers. Health should be void of political point scoring. We need to work together to ensure vital services, which save lives each hour, are kept in one of the most rural constituencies.”

Erne North DUP Councillor Raymond Farrell said, “In cases of stroke we are told to act FAST. We now need to ensure that the PHA, HSCB and the Western Health and Social Care Board act fair so that no person suffers as a result of any diminishing services here in the West.

We have world class health facilities, with state of the art equipment. We have a team of Doctors, nurses and consultants who care for patients with renowned expertise. We have this here in Fermanagh and we need to make sure it stays.

Audits have applauded the work that already takes place and to complement that we should be looking towards implementing a hyper-acute stroke unit to enhance the first class service we have already. At the moment the unit has been recognised as the best in Northern Ireland and indeed the UK as one of the best in terms of services, in terms of brain scanning, accessibility to care, clot busting and special assessments. Behind the audits are faces and stories of those who have had to use the Stroke Unit services. They know first-hand the amazing, lifesaving work that continues day and daily with a team of dedicated staff and it was deeply moving to hear the tributes paid to the team and the high regard in which the unit is held within our community.

On Tuesday night the passionate, united voice of the people in Fermanagh was made loud and clear to the decision makers involved in reshaping our stroke services. We want to see our stroke unit saved, maintained and given further investment for the future. It is now vital that we make that case throughout the consultation process.”