THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE are expected to take part in protests in Dublin City Centre today, angry at the decision to downgrade the emergency department at Roscommon County Hospital.
The Minister for Health James Reilly has justified the decision to close the department, calling it “unsafe” and citing its 21.3 per cent mortality rate for cardiac patients. From Monday it will be replaced by an urgent care unit, which will cater for non-emergency conditions. It will be supplemented by a GP out-of-hours service. Acute treatment will be provided at hospitals in Ballinasloe, Galway, Sligo and Mayo.
Local anger is high at the need to travel greater distances to receive treatment, but is the HSE right to close a department which is considered unable to provide the best care to patients?