Dr. McHugh: ‘People will die’ if hospital downgraded

Dr. Pat McHugh, a Consultant at Roscommon Hospital, said that it is proposed to convert surgery in Roscommon Hospital to day surgery only, with the consequence being that there won’t be any major surgery at the facility. Instead, ‘we’ll have a lumps and bumps Hospital’ he commented.     Dr. McHugh said that the downgrading of Roscommon Hospital was looming and there would be no night-time surgery in such a scenario.    ‘We need surgery and we need obstetrics. It’s like a football team. If you take away half the team, the team is no use. People will die if there’s no night surgery.’    It was proposed to ‘send’ consultant surgeons to Ballinasloe (Portiuncula) and as such there would be no surgeons in Roscommon at night and the service would be a nine-to-five one.    Dr. McHugh said that the Hanly Report is modelled on the NHS in England where 200,000 people live within a seven mile by twenty mile radius, when 200,000 people live in Ireland in a seven mile by seventy mile area. This issue was thus about density, and as such access was very important.    The proposals for Roscommon were ‘the beginning of the end’ and a ‘deathknell was being sounded.’    Dr. McHugh said that the lives of two young men (road accident victims) had been saved in recent weeks due to the close proximity of Roscommon Hospital.    ‘Two young men lost their lives