Minister Denis Naughten has confirmed that the extension of opening hours at the Medical Assessment Unit at Roscommon Hospital will be contained in the HSE’s Service Plan for 2018, which is to be published this week
Minister Naughten had sought the expansion of the services currently available at Roscommon Hospital to cater for more patients who need to see a doctor urgently and secured the funding needed to do so in October.
“This will result in an increased numbers of patients being treated at the hospital while also relieving pressure on surrounding A&E departments,” explained Minister Naughten.
The MAU currently opens from 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday and Minister Naughten had committed to securing the extended opening hours following last year’s general election. The extended hours will include evenings and weekends.
The funding for the extended hours was secured by Minister Naughten under a ‘hospitals capacity building measure’. This is part of the new ‘Access Plan’ which will ensure patients can avail of the medical care they need in the most appropriate setting for them.
“Due to overcrowding in our A&Es many older people postpone getting medical treatment until their GP is available the next morning or after the weekend,” explained Denis Naughten. “This in many instances means that the older person has become too sick to be treated in Roscommon Hospital and ends up in A&E anyway. This situation will now be eased as a result of the planned extension of the MAU opening hours in Roscommon and this will allow people, where appropriate, to be treated in the MAU and not be forced to wait in already over-crowded accident and emergency departments.
“This is going to be of huge benefit particularly to older people throughout the catchment of Roscommon Hospital & GPs who make the referrals but it is also going to be of benefit to Portiuncula Hospital as well as to the hospitals in Sligo and Castlebar because now we are going to have less older people and less sick people presenting in accident and emergency. So this is a benefit not just to the people of County Roscommon but also to the people who rely on all of the hospitals across the region.
“This is an issue I have felt very strongly about since long before I became a member of Cabinet and I am delighted that my continued work and commitment in this area has led to this announcement,” added Minister Naughten.
The MAU can treat chest pain (suspected heart attack), suspected stroke, respiratory (breathing) conditions, fever, seizures and headaches, and suspected illnesses such as pneumonia or chest infections, on referral from a GP.
“The Medical Assessment Unit at Roscommon Hospital provides rapid assessment, diagnosis and early treatment based on patients’ needs, and can provide more appropriate and timely care for medically ill patients.
“I received the commitment regarding the MAU directly from the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and along with Minister for Health, Simon Harris, and I am delighted to see it published in the HSE’s Service Plan for 2018.”