HAC ‘vindicated’ by consultants’ statement

Roscommon Hospital Action Committee this week called on Deputy Michael Finneran to explain how he intends to stop the creation of a joint department of surgery and anaesthetics between Roscommon County Hospital and Portiuncula Hospital. ‘The politicians said the Roscommon Hospital Action Committee was scaremongering when we highlight what would happen if services were withdrawn from Roscommon County Hospital.  Now the Hospital Consultants themselves have laid it out for us in black and white – lives will be lost – if services are withdrawn at Roscommon County Hospital.’ This week the Roscommon Hospital Action Committee rowed in behind the consultants at Roscommon County Hospital, stating again that patients will die if services are withdrawn form Roscommon County Hospital. ‘The HAC has been saying this for years while the politicians have been saying we are scaremongering. We are backed by evidence at Monaghan Hospital where 17 people died when the hospital went off call and we also have evidence from Ennis General Hospital where research shows 20 people will die annually if their A& E is closed. In August 2006 the HAC called a public meeting to discuss the HSE proposal to amalgamate surgical and anaesthetic services at Roscommon County Hospital. Hundreds of people objected to this, yet the HSE continue to badger consultants and hospital staff into accepting this ‘life threatening’ change at Roscommon County Hospital. Roscommon HAC applauds the Hospital Consultants for highlighting their fears about service reductions and asks them to keep fighting for Roscommon Hospital. The reality is the consultants will be in the meetings with the Health Service Executive and not the people of Roscommon whose lives could be lost. ‘And so to our politicians! On September 12th 2006 Deputy Finneran said he was going to ask the Minister for health to ‘withdraw’ the HSE document of Aug 3rd 2006 which proposed a joint Department of Surgery and Anaesthetics between Roscommon County Hospital and Portiuncula Hospital. Deputy Finneran in the Irish Times also stated that the proposed downgrading of Roscommon County Hospital ‘has now been shelved’. It is obvious that Deputy Finneran was not able to get the minister for Health to withdraw this document because this is the same document the HSE are now pushing staff at Roscommon County Hospital to accept. ‘On 19th September 2006 Deputy Finneran said in the Roscommon Champion that ‘plans to withdraw inpatient surgical services from Roscommon County Hospital will now be scrapped’. The same day the Health Services Executive confirmed it was ‘committed to proposals to establish a single department of surgery and anaesthesia for Roscommon and Portiuncula Hospitals’. The HSE also stated that day that they would be initiating an independent review of current services delivered at Portiuncula and Roscommon hospitals within days. This review never took place. ‘In August 2007 Deputy Finneran confirmed that at his meeting on Sept. 12th 2006 with Minister Mary Harney, senior officials from the Dept. of Health and senior officials from the Health Service Executive that it was ‘agreed that there would be a joint Department of Surgery and Anaesthetics between Roscommon County Hospital and Portiuncula Hospital’. This is the exact thing we in Roscommon are fighting against. ‘So Deputy Finneran, on Sept 12th 2006 agreed to a joint department of surgery and anesthetics. The consultants are now saying this will lead to the loss of lives. Now Deputy Finneran says that he will not allow this to happen. Deputy Finneran please tell us what how you intend to stop it?’