I’m sure I was not the only one that was surprised to see plans for developments at Roscommon Hospital published in the paper without any provision for a helipad or, as it is officially known, a Pre-Determined Landing-Zone (PDLZ).
It’s now over 4 years since the closure of the A&E in Roscommon, and while the investment and planned investment in our hospital is very, very welcome it continues to ignore the need for investment in our emergency services.
While we got an additional ambulance to replace the closure of out A&E, the National Ambulance Service has spent the last 12 months trying to take that ambulance out of Roscommon and relocate it to service the East Mayo/West Roscommon area, which needs a new ambulance NOT a borrowed one!
And while the Government praises itself for the establishment of the air ambulance service, the reality is very different. Long before the closure of Roscommon’s A&E, I had campaigned for the establishment of an emergency air ambulance service. At the time of the closure of the A&E this was one of the commitments which I had sought from Government. While dismissed at the time by Minister James Reilly as being of little medical benefit, working with Roscommon HAC we forced the Government’s hand and secured the establishment of the current invaluable service at Custume Barracks, Athlone.
This lack of priority for emergency services was exposed again in the Government advertisement over the last week in the local papers. While it referenced the air ambulance service, it failed to show where this helicopter would land in future at Roscommon Hospital.
As you will see from the published ‘draft’ plan, the new Mayo/Roscommon hospice unit is located on the site of the existing helipad or,as it is officially known, a Pre-Determined Landing-Zone (PDLZ).
But all is not lost, because I feared that something just like this would actually arise, and that’s why last June I raised this issue directly with Minister Varadkar.
On foot of that I received the reply below from hospital management:
Since the publication of this ‘draft’ plan in the Government advertisement over the last week, I have again sought reassurance and have been categorically informed that the commitment given to me last June is in fact the position, not the outdated drawing published in the local papers.
So contrary to what the Government advert says, there will continue to be a Pre-Determined Landing-Zone (PDLZ) at Roscommon Hospital for our air ambulance!
And the fight continues to provide a safe emergency service for all of the people of County Roscommon.