A member of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has tabled a Motion calling for “brainstorming” sessions of all interested groups to find solutions for health provision, amid a growing crisis for services in the area.

Councillor Sheamus Greene, Sinn Fein, claimed the Department of Health “isn’t trying to come up with any solutions to the crisis in rural areas in accessing health provision”.

The Motion, seconded by party colleague Councillor Thomas O’Reilly, focuses on the crisis in health care in the area with the announcement of services being withdrawn from the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH) and the continued threat to all GP surgeries, especially Maple Healthcare in Lisnaskea.

It calls for the Council to convene a series of meetings and invite all relevant bodies dealing with health provision in the Fermanagh and Omagh area, as well as civic society, trade unions and community representatives to come up with a plan and/or recommendations on how rural communities West of the Bann can attract and keep health care professionals for citizens to have the confidence that free, safe and modern health care will be provided to rural people.

The Motion also “calls on the Department of Health and the Western Health and Social Care Trust to work collaboratively to ensure the future sustainability of GP services in Lisnaskea and the surrounding areas”.

Councillor Greene explained he tabled the Motion because: “I believe the Department of Health isn’t trying to come up with any solutions to the crisis in rural areas, with regard to accessing health provision.

“The Department and the Western Trust seem to be trying to convince rural communities that they have done all they can and have simply given up.

“They are trying to convince us that it is for our own good that we have to travel to Derry or Belfast for health care.”

He continued: “With the GP crisis, we are told that telephone triage – if and when we can get through on the phone – is in our best interests, and seeing a doctor is the last resort.

“Now even the recruitment of doctors to our area seems to be impossible. What has gone wrong in the last 20 years?

“Given that Stormont is down, and the British government is sucking the life out of the NHS, I am hoping that the Council can facilitate all interested groups to come together and brainstorm to see if we can find solutions for our rural area.”

Councillor Greene concluded: “I accept this it is probably a shot in the dark, but somebody has to try before it’s too late.”

The Motion is expected to be discussed at the next Council meeting on December 6.