People living in County Roscommon are now further away from a fully functioning A&E than those living in any other county according to an analysis by NUI Maynooth’s National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis.
Responding to the analysis, local TD Denis Naughten said this analysis clearly shows how important the A&E at Roscommon Hospital was to the people of County Roscommon.
“It again highlights the fact that Roscommon Hospital was in a unique geographic position, so far away from other A&Es, yet this fact was ignored when our casualty department was forced to lock its doors last July,” stated Denis Naughten.
The average journey time to an A&E department for the whole of County Roscommon is 40minutes [see table on average journey time in middle of page link: http://www.airo.ie/news/new-all-island-accessibility-mapping-tool-and-prototype-all-island-deprivation-index but in many areas that journey time is closer to an hour including Castleplunkett at 56 minutes; Castlerea at 54 minutes; Tulsk, Ballymoe and Strokestown at 53 minutes; Elphin at 48 minutes and Frenchpark at 47 minutes.
Denis Naughten continued “These figures only record the average journey time from a person’s home to the nearest A&E. It fails to calculate the time delay in the ambulance actually arriving at the person’s home in the first place. As a result the study clearly highlights the urgent need for a fully operational ambulance base in West Roscommon, which is being badly serviced at present.”
Cllr. Dominic Connolly said: “Now our A&E has been removed it clearly highlights the need to provide a fully functioning ambulance service along with the air ambulance which my colleague Denis Naughten has campaigned for over the last decade. But an ambulance, either air or land, does not replace an A&E and I’m calling on the Government, in light of this damming analysis, to immediately review its decision on our A&E. This must start with a reversal of the decision to have all ambulances by-pass Roscommon Hospital.”
Commenting on the report, Cllr. Laurence Fallon added: “This study highlights what we always knew, that Roscommon people would be isolated when our A&E closed. This situation cannot continue and as a first step, the operation of our medical assessment unit must be extended and additional hours and services provided in our Urgent Care Centre.
“It is hard to believe that this analysis takes into account Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe, on the edge of County Roscommon, and yet we have the worst record in the country when it comes to access to A&E. What would happen if the A&E service in Ballinasloe was reduced?” concluded Cllr. Fallon