Health Minister James Reilly’s recent admission that investment is needed in local health facilities in County Roscommon following the closure of the Accident and Emergency Department at Roscommon County Hospital has been welcomed by local TD, Denis Naughten.
“This is the first public admission by the Minister for Health that there was no forward planning in advance of the closure of our accident and emergency department, a move which has clearly put lives at risk” said Denis Naughten.
“However, I am surprised that the Minister has decided to focus Government investment on primary care centres in Boyle and Ballaghaderreen, centres which would be used to treat non-emergency medical conditions, rather than the more urgently needed ambulance base for West Roscommon.
“It must also be remembered that as a result of the closure of Roscommon A&E Department people living in County Roscommon are now further away from a fully functioning A&E than those living in any other county according to an analysis by NUI Maynooth’s National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis.
“The average journey time to an A&E department for the whole of County Roscommon is 40 minutes but in many areas that journey time is closer to an hour including Castleplunkett at 56 minutes; Castlerea at 54 minutes; Tulsk, Ballymoe and Strokestown at 53 minutes; Elphin at 48 minutes and Frenchpark at 47 minutes”.
“Quite a number of these areas could be serviced by a fully functioning ambulance base in West Roscommon” pointed out Denis Naughten.
“I just wonder what the Minister‘s interpretation of the local health needs are, when he is prepared to go out on a political limb to deliver new offices for doctors in Ballaghaderreen and Boyle, but not able to deliver a long promised ambulance base, which would save lives?” concluded Denis Naughten.