HAC hit back at Finneran claims

Hospital: ‘We got nothing in writing’  Roscommon Hospital Action Committee (HAC) this week pointed out that it has never received any written commitment from the HSE or from the government on the future of the hospital and its services. The HAC was responding to last week’s story in Roscommon People in which Deputy Finneran expressed surprise at the group’s support for Cllr. John Kelly and failure to acknowledge his work on the Hospital issue.  In a statement issued this week a HAC spokesperson said, ‘Roscommon Hospital Action Committee would like to clarify for Deputy (Michael) Finneran and anyone else who might have jumped to any conclusions about the hospital.  Roscommon has never got any written commitment from the HSE or from the government on the future of the hospital and its services. ‘It is easy to say services are secure because the government thinks the people of Roscommon have not read the Hanly report. The Roscommon Hospital Action Committee has read the Hanly Report and understands that the Government’s health policy is to centralise services and reduce services at Roscommon County Hospital. This is fact. ‘Roscommon Hospital Action Committee has backed John Kelly, Independent, to maximise the independent vote in Roscommon and to ensure we elect an independent community candidate which is the only way services at Roscommon Hospital will be developed. It seems government parties are worried about the position Roscommon HAC took, as it will affect their votes and maybe even their seats. There are three seats in this constituency John Kelly is only after one of them. ‘Some people feel because Roscommon hospital has had some investment in buildings that services are secure. Remember Monaghan has also received investment in buildings but they still had services withdrawn. Remember the signing of the contracts for the A&E happened 24 hours before polling day of the last general election. These contracts stood for two years on the desk of the Minister for Health and they would never have been signed unless the Hospital Action Committee had kept the pressure on the government and the HSE by contesting the last election. ‘Deputy Finneran gave several commitments at the HAC’s public meeting in August 2006. That within a week there would be an announcement on the permanent appointment of the consultant physician at the hospital. To date this permanent appointment has not been made. That ‘if Fianna Fail did not stand with him on the Hospital he would not stand with them’. Deputy Finneran’s party said the hospital is secure but they refused to give this to him in writing. Is this standing with us the people of Roscommon on the hospital, or is this accepting a party line that is being trotted out all over the country? When pressed on the question of what exactly he would do if services were withdrawn from Roscommon hospital, he refused to answer!  Consultants that have been recently advertised are to be shared with Portiuncula Hospital. Roscommon’s experience of shared posts means that Portiuncula gets most of the time of the consultant and Roscommon is in second place. According to the HSE Emergency, surgical and anaesthetic services will be retained at Roscommon County Hospital. Emergency services are dependent on surgeons and anaesthetists being on call. ‘With the proposed amalgamation of surgery and anaesthetics between Roscommon and Portiuncula the following could be the case. A surgeon living in Ahascragh is being called to attend at Roscommon hospital to a car accident coming in from Strokestown. It’s 3 am. He will tell the ambulance keep travelling and bring the patients to Portiuncula. This is the kind of emergency cover we can expect. ‘The time has passed for this government to make any commitment on Roscommon Hospital