Minister Harris to respond in writing to HAC concerns

Cllr. Valerie Byrne said the HAC was “happy” with how the meeting went. The HAC councillor said that Minister Harris will be replying in writing to points raised by the HAC on Thursday and that he has also confirmed that there will be a follow-up meeting.  

  “Minister Harris listened to everything we had to say. We had initially sought the meeting because the funding for the Rehabilitation Unit had reportedly been withdrawn. At the recent opening of the Endoscopy Unit, Minister Harris confirmed that the Rehab funding was in place, but he still committed to proceed with our meeting.

  “At our meeting last Thursday Minister Harris listened to us, and anything he wasn’t familiar with, he promised to check out. We were not talked down to or talked at. He will be replying to us in writing and assured us that he will meet us again.”

  The HAC has sought assurances on funding for the Sacred Heart Hospital. The HAC also called for the re-opening of Roscommon A&E Unit and for 24/7 opening of the Medical Assessment Unit. They also made the case for refurbishment of the Central Sterile Supply Department at the hospital, for medical vacancies to be filled and for an enhanced ambulance service. The HAC also called for patients to be stabilised in Roscommon before being transferred elsewhere.

  Minister Harris gave no commitments on Roscommon A&E and indicated that he was not familiar with the Sacred Heart Hospital funding issue. However he pledged to look into all issues raised and to get back to the HAC without delay.

Positive political response to meeting

There has been a positive response to last Thursday’s meeting between Minister for Health Simon Harris, members of the Hospital Action Committee (HAC) and local Oireachtas public representatives.  

  Senator Frank Feighan (Fine Gael), who facilitated the meeting in the Minister’s office at the request of the HAC, said it had been productive.

  “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who attended for contributing to a very productive and positive meeting with Minister Harris. The Minister engaged with those present on a range of issues relating to the hospital and local health services.

  “This included the new Medical Rehab Unit; the need to fill the Rehab Consultant post as soon as possible; ambulance services; the Air ambulance service; the openings hours of the Medical Assessment Unit; a new Central Sterile Supply Department and progress on the new Sacred Heart Hospital project.

  “Minister Harris took detailed notes of all the queries and said he would revert as soon as possible with the relevant information. I would like to thank the Minister for giving his time to discuss these issues in a very considered fashion.

  “Minister Harris made it clear to all present that Roscommon Hospital is busy and he wants to make it even busier with the addition of more services. He said Roscommon Hospital was a good example of how hospitals are now taking the lead on certain services.”

  Senator Maura Hopkins (Fine Gael) said she made it very clear at the meeting that an increased ground ambulance service must be delivered for County Roscommon, particularly in known blackspot emergency response areas such as West Roscommon.

  She also said “it is absolutely necessary to equip our very effective air ambulance service with the capacity to operate at night.”

  According to Senator Hopkins, Minister Harris stated at the meeting that a project team has been assembled to progress the Rehabilitation Unit which is planned for Roscommon Hospital.

  She also stated “there is a need to ensure that the hours of both the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) and the Acute Injuries Unit are increased”. According to Senator Hopkins, Minister Harris has agreed to “look into these areas” while she has pledged to continue to work very hard to deliver improvements in the health service locally.

  In a press statement, Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy said that Minister for Health Simon Harris had reacted favourably to “his proposal” to introduce a Stabilisation Unit at Roscommon County Hospital.

   Deputy Murphy said that it was a positive meeting and that Minister Harris had “totally committed to funding for the Rehabilitation Unit at the County Hospital while he also indicated that the €10 million funding for the Sacred Heart Hospital would progress as quickly as possible.”

  Deputy Murphy said he fully supports calls for extending the opening hours at the Medical Assessment Unit and also supports the HAC’s call for an independent review of the A&E services.