Four years after Roscommon closure, Galway A&E still turning patients away – NaughtenFour years after the HSE commenced its plan to close Roscommon A&E, GPs have been advised not to send patients into the emergency department at University Hospital Galway by management at the hospital.“It is amazing to think that our A&E overcrowding is no longer a winter problem when older people tend to get sicker but now, even during the summer months, University Hospital Galway is bursting at the seams,” stated Denis Naughten.“Urgent action is needed immediately, and Roscommon can provide some of the solution.“Firstly, the HIQA recommendation, which would allow ambulances to take patients to Roscommon Hospital who can be treated there must be immediately implemented. It is just not good enough to leave ambulances and older people held up for hours in busy A&E departments when the patient could be in and out of Roscommon within an hour.“Secondly, the Health Minister must develop emergency services at Roscommon Hospital to the same extent as has been developed at Bantry Hospital in Cork. There the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) is available Monday to Friday without a GP referral and accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with an out of hours GP referral.”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.“The argument is made that Bantry is isolated so that is why it has these additional services, but the fact is that Bantry Hospital is nearer to Cork University Hospital than Roscommon is to Galway University Hospital,” outlined Denis Naughten.“Thirdly, our out of hours GP service should have direct access to the tests, including x-rays that are presently available 24 hours a day a Roscommon County Hospital.“These measures can not only service the traditional catchment of Roscommon County Hospital but also other patients who do not need to go to a specialist centre in either Galway or Castlebar, thereby taking pressure off these Emergency Departments.“It must be remembered that since the closure of Roscommon A&E we have not had a serious outbreak of the flu virus, if this were to happen then absolute chaos would result in our emergency departments.“There are many steps which can be taken to provide safe, sustainable emergency services at Roscommon Hospital, which can ensure that patients – particularly older patients – are treated as close as possible to their own homes,” concluded Denis Naughten.Copy of e-mail circulated by management yesterday
We are emailing from University Hospital Galway to ask that you please make any patients that you are sending to ED aware that there are significant delaystoday (23/6/15). There will be better access today at some of the Groups alternative emergency care sites – Roscommon Minor Injuries Unit, Mayo General, Portiuncula and Sligo Emergency Departments.
Due to high demand for emergency services and high acuity of inpatients, we currently have significant numbers of patients on trolleys and only a very few planned discharges, so we will therefore need to cancel most of the elective admissions planned for both today and tomorrow.
Thank you for your support in managing this situation, which will have an impact for the coming few days.
Galway University Hospitals
Denis Naughten TD