HSE: ‘Try to avoid hospitals’

Winter focus on community services

The HSE has unveiled a Winter Plan for Roscommon Hospital and its facilities across the west, but one local TD says promised staff appointments are unlikely to be made until the spring, at best!

Announcing details of the initiative this week, the HSE said its aim is to reduce pressure on acute services by increasing access to community services and providing more supports for patients in their own homes.

The HSE says it wants to minimise admissions to hospitals – including Roscommon University Hospital.

Unveiling a Joint Winter Plan for Roscommon Hospital and Community Healthcare West, Tony Canavan, CEO of Saolta University Health Care Group said the steps being taken will “increase access for patients to a wider range of services in the community, decreasing demand on acute facilities”.

The HSE says it wants to avoid hospital admissions where possible and “promote patient flow across all acute and community healthcare facilities through an integrated approach”.

The HSE has pledged to recruit a number of staff, including in respect of services in Roscommon. However, Sligo-Leitrim TD Marian Harkin has taken a sceptical view on the promises relating to new staff appointments.

Deputy Harkin said that she asked the Minister for Health for an update in relation to mooted staff appointments referenced in the Winter Plan for Sligo and Letterkenny University Hospitals, and was told (by the HSE) that a recruitment process “is due to get underway to commence filling all of the approved posts”.

Deputy Harkin responded: “This means that winter will be well and truly on the way before any appointments are made and very likely it will be over before all staff are recruited – that’s looking at the best possible scenario”.