HAC demand new assurances?on Hospital from Finneran

Fears that surgical services at Roscommon County Hospital are to be restricted to day surgery in the future have re-surfaced once again following a number of meetings this week.    At the weekend management at Roscommon County Hospital met with the consultants which was thought to be the start of a review process of all services at the facility. However it is the prospect of the amalgamation of surgical services at Roscommon and Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe that has set the alarm bells ringing.   A meeting between consultants and management teams at Roscommon and Portiuncula hospitals and a senior member of the Teamwork Group was to take place on Wednesday night, as we went to press. The meeting was scheduled for the Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone.    It is believed that the Teamwork consultancy group have been working on a review of services in the North-West up to now, and that they favour an amalgamation of surgical services at Roscommon and Portiuncula as part of their work in this region.   The Teamwork group have come into the health system nationwide to evaluate the services on offer and their work is thought to have replaced the controversial Hanly Report which caused such a furore in recent years. However many of those who fear for the future of services at Roscommon Co. Hospital think that Teamwork is just another name for Hanly.   Speaking to The Roscommon People on Wednesday, a senior staff source at Roscommon Co. Hospital said: ‘I don’t know what the outcome of this meeting will be but it seems certain to me that an amalgamation of surgical services is definitely on the agenda and as far as I’m concerned that will mean an increase in day surgery in Roscommon – but it will also mean a reduction or cessation of all other surgery at the hospital, which would be a very serious development.’    Roscommon HAC Cllr. Paula McNamara says that this latest news confirms what the HAC have been saying all along.    ‘Teamwork and their work is just the Hanly Report by another name and I am very worried about this new development. I can tell you if major surgery goes at Roscommon Co. Hospital then it is the beginning of the end. It will be a disaster’ she said.    ‘Last year Deputy Michael Finneran said that he held a meeting with Bertie Ahern, Brian Cowen and Mary Harney after the public meeting we had here in town and he said that he had got assurances from them, which we accepted at the time. He also said at the meeting that we held in the Abbey Hotel that he would stand with the people of Roscommon if there was any threat to the hospital.    ‘I am calling on him today to make a definitive statement about this latest threat to the hospital, before it’s too late. We predicted that this would come up again after the election and that has come to pass now’ she said.    Deputy Finneran was unavailable for comment as we went to press but a senior Fianna Fail source in County Roscommon told the People on Tuesday:  ‘Look, we have assurances from Bertie and Brian Cowen on Roscommon Hospital and that’s good enough for me. We won’t be going back on that – you can take it from me.’