Fermanagh and Omagh District Council passed a motion on Tuesday night to contact the Department of Health (DoH) over the state of healthcare provision in Lisnaskea.

At the meeting, the independent councillor, Josephine Deehan, said: “As a GP myself, I am fortunate that my practice has had investment, but other GP practices in Fermanagh and parts of Tyrone have not been so fortunate.

“Many practices throughout this council area have not received the funding they require.”

Sinn Féin councillor, Sheamus Greene, said: “There was a report in 2005 which referred to the building of a new healthcare centre in Lisnaskea as a ‘top priority’ for DoH.

“We are in 2019 now. My hope from this meeting is that we will have answers for this as it’s still supposed to be a top priority for the department.”

The SDLP’s, Councillor Garbhan McPhillips, added: “We really need to impress the importance of this upon DoH.”

Meanwhile, Victor Warrington, an UUP councillor mentioned how he, as part of a delegation, had previously met with the Health Permanent Secretary, Richard Pengelly, regarding these issues.

Councillor Warrington called the current healthcare infrastructure in the Lisnaskea area “atrocious,” but stated that the only barrier to now developing a new centre in the area is finding an appropriate site on which to build it.

The Independent councillor, John McCluskey, commented on the issues facing the Maple Healthcare centre which is currently open in Lisnaskea.

Councillor McCluskey said: “I have visited the Maple Healthcare centre several times. On some of those occasions there haven’t even been an adequate number of seats for patients to sit down on.”

Additionally, Councillor Greene, a patient of Maple Healthcare, told the Impartial Reporter: “It’s not fit for purpose.

“There is hardly any parking and, unless it’s a medical emergency, you have to wait at least two weeks to get an appointment.”Councillor Greene said the site of the now closed Lisnaskea High School would be “ideal” for a new healthcare centre, but it’s still currently owned by the Department of Education. However, he added that even if the site gets the go ahead, it won’t be an “overnight fix” as a new healthcare centre could take some years to build and become operational.

Councillor Greene also said: “The closure of the Roslea G.P surgery in April 2017 led to even more patients having to use the Maple Healthcare centre. A major problem is that without a new healthcare centre, it’s tough to attract doctors.” At the council meeting, meanwhile, the Chair, Sinn Féin’s Siobhan Currie, concluded discussion on this issue by saying: “This is really an issue for DoH.”