SOUTH West Acute Hospital appears to be finding it difficult to attract patients from across the Border due to an issue with insurance.

Patients in the Republic of Ireland who have private health care need their insurance company to have accredited the hospital in which they are receiving treatment.

Sinn Fein MLA Phil Flanagan asked Health Minister Simon Hamilton about the accreditation of the Enniskillen hospital and private insurance companies in the south.

Minister Hamilton replied: “A number of insurance companies operating in the Republic of Ireland were approached by the Western Health and Social Care Trust about insurance accreditation with respect to the South West Acute Hospital but no insurance company took up the offer.”

Meanwhile, Minister Hamilton has said “it is inevitable” that there will be an “impact” on services within the Western Health and Social Care Trust due to financial constraints.

He said that all Trusts, including the Western Trust, are facing a range of pressures, such as “inflationary cost pressures, demographic pressures from an increasingly aging population and the pressures associated with new treatments and patient expectations.

“In such a constrained financial context, and given the obligation to live within budget whilst also meeting an ever increasing demand for Heath and Social Care services, it is inevitable that there will be an impact on the pattern of delivery of some of our services,” he said.