Trade Union members in Fermanagh and across Northern Ireland are on strike today (Thursday) for 24 hours, the actions involves trade union members from Unison, NIPSA and the Unite the Union.

Already this morning a picket has gathered at the entrance of South West Acute Hospital as Fermanagh workers continue their strike which began at 12am.

Anne Speed Head of Bargaining and Representation at UNISON Northern Ireland said  "It is an appalling situation when trade unions willing to negotiate have all doors closed to them.  It is therefore inevitable that this action today is happening.

“The Secretary of State is in the USA talking about trade.  He has responsibilities here. It is time he included in his priorities addressing the crisis in our health service.  Staff recruitment and retention and pay justice are every bit as important as trade.

“Our members also expect a joint effort from all political parties to break this logjam.”

A spokesperson for the Western Health and Social Care Trust said: “The Health and Social Care System is in a period of industrial action. We are working closely with Trade Union colleagues to protect our critical services and to try minimise the impact of industrial action on our patients and service users.

“Please note that if you have a pre-booked appointment you should attend unless we contact you to say that it has been cancelled.”

“The Western Trust is currently in the process of making direct contact with the patients and service users who will be impacted by the industrial action. If you have not been contacted, please assume your appointment/service delivery will proceed as normal on Thursday.

The Western Trust has advised that the following services across the Trust will be affected;

  • Homecare services. We are aware that a significant number of service users in receipt of Homecare may not receive their scheduled calls, between the hours of 12.01am until 11.59pm, if it is delivered by the Western Trust. We are asking for the help of family members and carers to assist us during these times by checking in with their relatives / neighbours that receive Homecare services. Should an issue arise please call the local Homecare office on the following numbers: Northern Sector (Derry, Limavady, Dungiven) – (028) 7186 4385; Fermanagh (028) 6634 2414 or Strabane Castlederg and Omagh (028) 8283 5911. Homecare services delivered by our contracted providers are not expected to be affected.
  • The following Learning Disability Day Centres will be closed all day: Oaktree Day Centre, Valley Centre, Evergreen Centre, Rossville Centre, Kesh Centre Fresh Focus, Lackaghboy 2, EPC, Lisnaskea and the Share Centre.
  • The following Adult Mental Health Day Centres will be closed all day: Arden Day Centre and Creggan Day Centre. Drumcoo Psychical and Sensory Day Centre will remain closed all day.
  • The following Family Centres will be closed on all day: Shanthallow Family Centre, Riverside Family Centre, Erne Family Centre and Creggan Family Centre.
  • Significant impact to Family and Childcare services is anticipated. This service will be operating a bank holiday arrangement. Only emergency childcare requests will be responded to. In emergency situations please contact, The Gateway Team, telephone: 028 7131 4070.
  • A significant number of Outpatient appointments have been postponed and a number of planned procedures have also been postponed across our three hospital sites. The Trust is currently in the process of re-booking the appointments and procedures.
  • There will be limited hospital catering facilities. Patient meals will be prioritised.
  • There will be limited response to community aids/appliance faults in client homes. All faults should still be logged in the normal way and these will be triaged in terms of risk/patient impact.
  • Laboratory and Hospital Pharmacy services will also be limited. The Trust’s labs will be operating a bank holiday service arrangement with capacity only for urgent samples. Patients who collect medications directly from the Trust’s Pharmacy Department’s at both Altnagelvin Hospital and the South West Acute Hospital may experience a delay.