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Fine Gael TD says Roscommon Hospital is safer - opposition TDs say situation's worse

Consultants at the hospital said this week that the hospital is providing a safer service since the closure of the Emergency Department.

Fine Gael's Frank Feighan making his way through the crowds at a protest in 2011 against the changes in the hospital.
Fine Gael's Frank Feighan making his way through the crowds at a protest in 2011 against the changes in the hospital.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

FINE GAEL TD for Roscommon/South Leitrim Frank Feighan said today that comments made by consultants at Roscommon Hospital confirm that he was right about the closure of the Emergency Department in 2011.

The comments from the consultants were published in the Roscommon Herald with Dr Gerry O’Mara saying that he could now stand over the service provided and that patients could now be assured of a safer service at the hospital.

His colleague Dr Liam McMullan also said that retaining the Emergency Department would have required a lot of additional staff to bring it up to standard.

Speaking today, Feighan said the campaign mounted against him following his support of the closure was “designed to sow the seeds of doubt among the people of Roscommon”.

“The assessment provided by these consultants cuts through all the misinformation and provides a clear picture of how our hospital is safer than it was three years ago,” he said.

He claimed the hospital is now busier because of a higher volume of lower complexity cases with a 40 per cent increase in day procedures and a 25 per cent increase in outpatient activity since 2011.

However local opposition TDs were not quite so positive about the consultants’ comments – or Feighan’s.

Ambulance service

Denis Naughten, then a Fine Gael TD, voted against his party in a motion on cuts to emergency services at the hospital in 2011 and lost the Fine Gael whip. Speaking to TheJournal.ie, he said “things haven’t improved from the point of view of provision of services for people in Roscommon”.

Half the number of people are being treated today than was the case in 2010 before the Accident and Emergency Department closed.

The fundamental issue here at the end of the day, for the vast majority of people, is the fact that we don’t have an Emergency Department and that we are very reliant on an ambulance service which seemed to be adequate at the time it closed but very quickly has been run down. We don’t have adequate ambulances of ambulance crews and people have been waiting considerable periods of time.

Luke Ming Flanagan said he believed the TDs in the area were elected “to be ambitious for Roscommon” and that it was their job to try to improve the Emergency Department if they thought there were deficiencies.

I spent eight hours in Galway A&E a week and a half ago and it was described by one of the clinicians – who was doing their very best – as bedlam. There was a lady at the exit with her elderly husband on a trolley up against the wall and up against the door. To get out, that lady had to push a button to release the door beside her husband’s head. We have people up on top of each other like cattle.

Flanagan said there is a common thread when it comes to the provision of emergency services – “a lack of ambition for the people of this country”.

Read: ‘People are dying’ – pleas for a basic emergency service in Roscommon after death of teen>

Read: ‘Staffing still a problem’ at Roscommon psychiatric unit>

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