Denis Naughten has reiterated his commitment to continue to fight to secure the reinstatement of emergency services at Roscommon Hospital in light of what he has described as “negative and misleading campaigning”.
“I have proven my commitment to Roscommon Hospital and, in particular, to emergency services at the hospital and I will continue, if re-elected, to work as an Independent TD to reinstate services at the hospital,” stated Denis Naughten.
“I have always been committed to improving the emergency services both in Roscommon and Portiuncula Hospitals and I am determined to try to re-establish as much of the emergency services as I can if I am in a position to do so after the election as an Independent TD in Dáil Eireann.”
He continued: “I would love nothing more than to see the A&E re-opened in full – and I will never stop working towards that goal – but I am also not going to lie to the public and say that this could be achieved in the short term when anyone who has even the most basic understanding of our health service knows that re-instating the full A&E in the current climate would be next to impossible.
“There would need to be a significant number of consultants appointed to Roscommon Hospital to allow the service to be re-instated in full. Portiuncula currently has five consultant vacancies – one of which has been vacant for the last three years – and even with additional incentives being offered some posts haven’t received even one application. In that context it would be a blatant lie to state that A&E services could be restored in Roscommon in the short term.
“However that doesn’t mean we couldn’t see a large majority of the previous A&E services reinstated at the hospital. I firmly believe we could get to a position of having 97% of people catered for yet for some reason it appears other political parties would rather see nothing going on at Roscommon A&E than have that 97% being treated at Roscommon Hospital, just to suit their political agendas.
“To those claiming the A&E is not a red line issue for me I would ask them: if I am in a position, as an Independent TD, to deliver a deal that would see 97% of people able to be treated at Roscommon Hospital’s emergency department with the other 3% covered by the air ambulance should I really walk away from that and leave the services the way there are now? I believe to do so would be to turn my back on the people of Roscommon and East Galway.
“I am quite happy to take up the HAC offer to outline in detail how services can be improved and I look forward to seeing the proposals put forward by the other candidates and the political commentators.
“Regardless of whether I am in a position to form a Government after the general election I can promise the people of Roscommon and Galway that I will continue to serve as an Independent TD and continue to fight for the future of our health services. I have shown to date that as an Independent TD I have been one of the foremost experts in Leinster House on our health services and I have used my influence to obtain additional ambulance and air ambulance services, to have stroke machines installed in hospitals (including one in Portiuncula Hospital), to secure the future of the Sacred Heart Hospital and to reinstate the full Westdoc service.”
In relation to the negative campaigning being carried out by other political parties, Denis Naughten said: “Unfortunately I always knew this was going to a dirty campaign with negative and misleading statements being made about me. But what needs to be made clear is that there are ulterior motives for such a campaign.
“The truth is that if I am elected in this general election I will serve as an Independent TD in the next Dáil and on that basis I will negotiate with whoever is forming the next Government to enhance the future of health services in Roscommon and Galway.”