Inside the South West Acute Hospital where staff are breaking down in tears due to Omicron pressures

Inside South West Acute Hospital.
The South West Acute Hospital has been under the strain of decreasing staff numbers and increasing patients. Credit: UTV

Doctors are breaking down in tears at a Northern Ireland hospital such is the strain brought by the Omicron wave of the pandemic.

A senior consultant at the South West Acute Hospital in Fermanagh said unprecedented patient numbers and staff shortages had led to never-before-seen pressures.

The facility in Enniskillen has been operating over capacity at the highest level compared to the other hospitals across Northern Ireland for well over a month.

Almost 900 people showed up at its emergency department in the past seven days. Some patients are waiting two days to be admitted.

  • Consultant Cardiologist Dr Monica Monaghan tells UTV News staff are under immense pressure:

Staff shortages, Covid admissions, and very sick people are contributing to the pressure.

Many patients being treated for coronavirus are unvaccinated, or have not had a booster, staff say.

Consultant Cardiologist Dr Monica Monaghan told UTV it has never been so bad and she has witnessed consultants in tears.

She said the ED was operating more as a medical ward with people on trolleys in corridors rather than in a bed in a ward.

Dr Monaghan said morale was very low among staff as they struggled with being unable to provide patients with a level of dignity when attending to them in a corridor.

"This goes far beyond Covid-19. We do have 22 patients with Covid, we do recognise those that are vaccinated and have their booster are less likely to get sick or require hospitalisation.

"We have many with multiple conditions... I have seen patients come in with Covid induced heart failure. Really it is across every discipline.. the impact goes much beyond Covid."

She said the hospital can’t function in isolation and thanked the area's GPs and staff at the Omagh hospital.

Figures provided by Western Health and Social Care Trust