CAMPAIGNERS ANGRY OVER the shutdown of Roscommon hospital’s A&E department are set to protest outside Leinster House this evening.
The battle over care standards at the facility has escalated after the HSE confirmed services would be downgraded from Monday. The A&E department will be replaced by a daytime ‘urgent care unit’ for minor injuries, and a GP service out of hours. For acute emergency treatment, patients must travel to hospitals in Ballinasloe, Galway city, Sligo or Castlebar.
Buses are leaving towns all over the Roscommon area this afternoon for the protest outside Government buildings at 6pm. Campaign group the Roscommon Hospital Action Committee argues that the lives of heart attack, stroke and head injury victims will be more at risk after the closure as it will take longer for them to reach treatment. According to the group, an ambulance can take up to two hours to reach Galway University Hospital from Roscommon.
However, advocates of the downgrade contend that patients receive better care in larger facilities, because doctors treat severe conditions more regularly. Health Minister Dr James Reilly told the Dáil last night that cardiac patients at Roscommon hospital were four times more likely to die than those in Galway, the Irish Times reports.
“If you go to Galway, you have a 5.8 per cent mortality rate. If you go to Roscommon, you have a 21.3 per cent mortality rate,” he said. Minister Reilly said the findings are contained in an unreleased draft report.