A number of local politicians attended the public stroke meeting held in the Killyhevlin Hotel recently with every representative speaking of the need to retain the stroke unit at South West Acute Hosiptal.

Among those politicians to speak included DUP leader, Arlene Foster and MP for the area, Sinn Fein’s Michelle Gildernew. Mrs. Foster spoke about the importance of ensuring that the SWAH was not sacrificed for the survival of Altnagelvin, which is included in all six options on the future of services with SWAH only included in two.

“We have the best, other people should want to be the best but I am worried that uniformity means that we will be dragged down. And in terms of sustainability we cannot be made the victims of making Altnagelvin sustainable,” the DUP leader said.

Ms Gildernew urged everyone in attendance to ensure as many people as possible had their say on the consultation before paying tribute to the hard work of volunteers who are assisting people in the filling out of the consultation.

She then spoke about the excellent service currently in situ at SWAH and said that proposals for a second air ambulance to help with transporting patients was not the solution needed: “We are very lucky that we have an expert team here and we have the best door to needle time than anywhere else on these islands and we are very proud of that. If we lose our service in Fermanagh there will definitely people affected for life.The air ambulance is not the answer to it,” she said.