‘Scrap plan or it’s over for Hospital’

Seamus Duke  & Paul Healy  A Consultant Physician at Roscommon County Hospital has warned that HSE plans will sound the deathknell for the hospital if they are implemented.    There has been fierce political reaction to the confirmation that a real threat now exists to in-patient surgery continuing at Roscommon County Hospital. A draft HSE report presented to members of Roscommon County Council on Friday envisages such a scenario and while the HSE denies that their plans for Roscommon and Portiuncula Hospitals amount to downgrading of Roscommon, the feeling in the county this week is that the hospital is facing the greatest threat to its status in almost a quarter of a century.    Deputy Michael Finneran (Fianna Fail) said that HSE proposals to relocate five General Surgeons at Portiuncula Hospital covering surgery at both hospitals would reduce the capacity of Roscommon County Hospital to provide in-patient surgery with resident general surgeons and anaesthetists. ‘As the Government Deputy for Roscommon South Leitrim this section of the recommendations is totally unacceptable to me’.    Deputy Denis Naughten (Fine Gael) said that the accident department at Roscommon County Hospital will be transferred along with the present surgeons to Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, under the HSE plans.    Speaking to the Roscommon People yesterday (Wednesday) Consultant Physician at Roscommon County Hospital Dr. Pat McHugh said ‘the latest proposals for Roscommon whereby there would be five consultants based in Portiuncula will not work and it would signal the beginning of the end of Roscommon County Hospital. They are talking about having no consultants or anaesthetists based in Roscommon and that would be a disaster.  ‘We are being treated very unfairly in Roscommon. We are been starved of resources and we are totally underfunded and then we are being compared with hospitals that are fully funded and fully staffed. It’s crazy’ he said. ‘What will happen is that the College of Physicans will look at Roscommon and they will pull the plug if it is not being properly staffed or funded. That  will sound the deathknell for Roscommon County Hospital as we know it. Unless this document is scrapped or reversed, it’s all over for Roscommon’ he concluded. See pages18-19