Lisnaskea was brought to a standstill on Saturday as cars were caught up in a traffic jam caused by the administration of the winter flu vaccine at Maple Healthcare. Patients were also left queuing out the door of the practice.

In a statement to this paper Maple Healthcare cited the “phenomenal” and “unprecedented” turnout for a flu vaccination along with “poor provision of parking” as contributing factors in both the traffic delays and the wait that patients had to receive the flu vaccine.

One member of the public who received the vaccine on Saturday stated;

“I got there early, and it took two hours to be seen. The parking around the health centre does not make it easy either and when I returned to the car I was blocked in and the traffic was queued all the way past the school that has closed (Lisnaskea High School).”

Speaking on the issue of car parking provision Maple Healthcare said that:

“Unfortunately due to the poor provision of parking at our Lisnaskea premises, our patients experienced significant access difficulties on Saturday for several hours. Maple Healthcare regret this happened and continue to ask that our politicians, civil servants and the public get behind us in our quest for a new Health & Care Centre for Lisnaskea. It is what the people of this area deserve and is long overdue.”

There was also an almost 100% increase in the number of patients who arrived for the vaccine and Maple Healthcare insist that there was a significant amount of planning that went in to the organisation of Saturday’s event:

“A lot of planning went into our Saturday clinic, with careful analysis of our “at risk” population, the 2017 uptake figures and available stocks of vaccines. The phenomenal turnout on Saturday past was unprecedented. We vaccinated over 800 patients from 9am till 2pm. This was almost 300 more than the same clinic last year.”

Maple Healthcare went on to cite a number of reasons why the uptake was so increased from last year, including, the increased media publicity, the bad flu of 2017-18 and the news surrounding the vaccine supply problems.

“Ultimately this good start to our flu vaccine campaign is a positive news story. We run Saturday clinics, as do many centres all over the UK, so that we are not affecting services for ill patients during the weekdays. Saturday clinics also help those who need a relative or carer to transport them to the vaccination centre,” the statement read.

The practice hopes to run more clinics in the coming weeks in both the evenings and during normal surgery hours to ensure everyone who needs the vaccine gets it.

Speaking about the issues on Saturday Councillor Brian McCaffrey, Sinn Fein, stated that it was “totally unacceptable.”

“It was like a third world medical field clinic at times,” he said.

Maple Healthcare is hoping that there is a resolution to both the parking issues and also the need for a new health care centre.

“There are on-going negotiations to improve parking around the existing health centre and we hope to have some developments on that very soon. Maple Healthcare is also hoping for positive news on the proposed new build Health and Care Centre in the next few months. Work by the Western Health and Social Care Trust and the DHSSPS officials is continuing in this regard.”