Local health services face additional cuts as merger with Galway continues: Naughten

In Health by Denis Naughten

Merger could result in €800,000 cuts to Roscommon health funding

Denis Naughten TD has expressed concerns over the merging of community health services in Roscommon and Galway following the appointment of a new “super-manager” to run all health services in the county, outside of Roscommon County Hospital.

This appointment means that Roscommon’s Primary Community and Continuing Care (PCCC) budget will now be controlled outside the county. This budget includes services such as Public Health Nurses, dental checks in primary school, speech therapy, physiotherapy, mental health services and the provision of long term residential care for our older people.

“While the theory behind the appointment of having one manager in charge across both counties may have some merit, the reality is far different,” stated Denis Naughten. “There is no doubt that this change in the management structure will have a significant impact on the delivery of services locally in County Roscommon.

“The reality is that whoever controls the budget controls the services that are provided within the community, and such a change would have a serious impact on the delivery of services locally in County Roscommon.

“The County Roscommon catchment population will form about one-fifth of the overall catchment of this new PCCC area and as a result the priority issues in Roscommon will be well down the list.”

Denis Naughten continued: “In relation to community health services, County Roscommon balanced its books up to the end of December causing serious hardship to some people relying on local health services, whereas the Galway service has run over budget by somewhere in the region of €4m.

“Now from January 1st 2012, the new Galway/Roscommon community health service will start off the year in the red to the tune of €4m on top of additional health cuts to be announced by the HSE nationally. It is imperative that both the Roscommon and Galway budgets remain separate because by amalgamating both budgets it would allow Galway to be rewarded for overspending while Roscommon services – and therefore Roscommon people – could see an additional cut of up to €800,000 on the funding for local health services in 2012.

“I intend the take this matter up with the HSE & Health Minister when the Dáil returns later this week, seeking to ensure that at the very least both budgets remain separate. It is important to remind the public that this is the exact same procedure that was employed by the HSE in relation to Roscommon Hospital.

“Firstly, they appointed a manager for Roscommon and the Galway Hospitals, telling us that this would lead to a better service. Instead the funding to the hospital was cut and services withdrawn, including the vitally important A&E. The same people who devised that plan are still calling the shots, and this cannot improve the situation for the people of County Roscommon who rely on our health service.”