The bowel cancer screening programme due to commence next January and which included Roscommon County Hospital as a centre for the service has been postponed for at least six months, local TD Denis Naughten has stated.
“Last July when the Government closed our A&E we were promised that Roscommon County Hospital would become a centre of excellence for bowel cancer screening. The service was to be developed ‘within weeks’ and would be fully operational by the beginning of 2012. However, the screening programme has now been delayed by at least six months,” said Deputy Naughten.
“In the interim there are nearly 2,500 people waiting on colonoscopies in hospitals around the country, while at the same time Roscommon County Hospital has theatres and surgeons with virtually nothing to do.
“To compound the problem for Roscommon Hospital it is facing a budget cut of €1.5m between now and the end of the year, which will effectively see existing services wound down.
“This is just not good enough. The Health Minister said that he could not deliver on pre-election commitments because of HIQA. Now, promises that were made as recently as last July are also being reneged upon.
“We need to see investment at Roscommon Hospital and we need it now in order to retain the existing staff and their valuable skills. If they are lost to Roscommon, they will be very difficult to replace,” concluded Denis Naughten.