Speech by Denis Naughten on Topical Issue Motion regarding Roscommon Hospital.

In Health, Mid-Roscommon by Denis Naughten

Topical Issue Motion

The need for the Government to reopen Roscommon Urgent Care Centre on a 24/7 basis and to revise ambulance by-pass protocols in light of the chronic overcrowding in adjacent A&E departments.

Speech by Denis Naughten TD on Topical Issue Motion in Dail Eireann re. Roscommon County Hospital Emergency Department

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The latest INMO trolley watch figures show that there are 46 patients on trolleys in GUH, 11 in Portiuncula & 9 in Mullingar.

Over the last month all three hospitals have been taken off call for ambulances due to the chaotic situation within their A& E departments.

At the same time Roscommon A&E is operating only as a minor injury clinic on a 12/7 basis.

I want to state categorically that I don’t care what name is over the door of our emergency department; what goes on inside is what is important to me and the people who I represent.

The reopening of Roscommon is one very simple cost effective way to take pressure off the A&Es in Mullingar, Portiuncula & Galway and the over stretched ambulance service.

In practical terms this has a serious impact on patient safety, as was the case with Mary who 3 weeks ago had a mini stroke at 10 o’clock at night. The ambulance was there within 15min and she was brought to Mullingar Hospital. When the ambulance was in Edgeworthstown the paramedic was told that Mullingar was not accepting any more patients and as a result they diverted to Sligo. So after spending 2 hrs in the ambulance, they arrive 3 hours after the stroke in Sligo.

So much for acting “FAST” as the advert advises.

This also tied up an ambulance for at least 3 hours.

Patients such as this lady could be treated safely in Roscommon Hospital with proper protocols put in place.

It is a fact that within just 4 weeks of the closure of Roscommon A&E being deemed “unsafe” due to the lack of adequate medical “supervision”, the Department of Finance approved the roll out of a new nationwide telestroke network service because specialists are keen to improve thrombolysis rates across the country.

This process involves the use of specially designed IT systems that allow specialists, from a remote location, to conduct video consultations and communicate with patients and staff. Evidence shows that such systems improve access to thrombolysis and raise standards in stroke care.

This is the type of system that hospital campaigners in Roscommon have always been looking for, because of our unique geographical situation. A system that would allow patients who have suffered a stroke to attend at our local hospital.

But the reality is safety was never the issue.

Local GPs were told that their heart attack patients would be transferred directly to GUH for access to the CAT lab. They now feel they were lied to as patients are being transferred to Portiuncula Hospital – a hospital which has the same facilities as Roscommon. The only difference is that now, in some instances, patients are waiting in GP surgeries for up to an hour for an ambulance.

Even leaving these specific issues aside, at this point in time we have some of the most highly skilled staff in the country twiddling their thumbs, while chaos reigns in other A&E departments. Where is the sense? There is a need to review ambulance and hospital by pass protocols.

For example, why does someone who requires 2 stitches, and who is picked up by an ambulance, have to pass the front door of Roscommon hospital and travel 40 min up the road & in all likelihood wait for hours instead of being dropped at Roscommon Emergency Department?

Why have over 300 children with minor injuries been forced to travel in pain for an additional hour, because staff have been instructed to turn them away at the door; even though, with the exact same staffing, they could be safely treated just a few months ago?

While we can dispute whether 4% of patients who were treated at Roscommon A&E could get better care somewhere else; can you not let common sense prevail and allow the other 96% of patients who were attending to continue to be safely treated at Roscommon Hospital and not have to risk the Russian roulette of our so called regional “centre of excellence”?

Topical Issue Motion