HSCT must bring forward genuine consultation with communities threatened by medical imaging review process

Gareth ScottOne day public notice of consultation event is wholly inadequate and has left local community bewildered and concerned

HSCT needs to organise a properly publicised consultation event in New Year in a neutral and appropriate venue such as the Lakeland Forum

Gareth Scott, Unite Industrial officer with responsibility for the health sector in the Western Health & Social Care Trust area was highly critical of the Health & Social Care Trust consultation as part of its Review on Medical Imaging:

“The HSCT launched its public consultation into medical imaging on October 26th and local health campaigners from across the trade union movement in Fermanagh expressed their concern that of the impact of a ‘strategic framework review’ which openly discussed the need to withdraw MRI, X-ray and CT scan facilities to a number of ‘hub’ facilities.

“The loss of such services from SWAH would pose particular concerns and would undermine the provision of full specialisms in the hospital. It would also exacerbate the rural isolation experienced by those suffering from conditions needing medical imaging. As such, there are deeply-held and widespread concerns over this review in Fermanagh.

“The original notice of consultation announced only one public consultation event in the Lough Neagh discovery centre. In response to criticism over that woefully inadequate engagement, other meetings have been organised and yesterday the public learned that a public consultation event is scheduled for tonight in Enniskillen townhall – giving a concerned community only one day’s public notice of this event.

“This is completely unacceptable. This is high level strategic review could have very significant adverse consequences for local access to medical facilities in Fermanagh. It is Unite’s position that genuine co-production of policy requires extensive and inclusive consultation and participation from the public. One day’s public notice in the local press of a consultation event held in the mouth of Christmas does not fulfil that criterion.

“Given the fact that consultation events are being held right up to the January 12th deadline, we are recommending that the HSCT organise and publicise properly a public consultation event held in a neutral and appropriate venue such as the Lakeland Forum in the early New Year. Unite are calling on members of the public to engage in the current public consultation and make known their concerns before the closing date for submissions”, Mr Scott concluded.

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