New medical team will keep older people out of hospital & nursing homes
Local TD Denis Naughten has confirmed that the Saolta Hospital Group is in the process of holding interviews for additional consultants at Roscommon Hospital, as a result of the investment he secured for the hospital in Budget 2018.
One of the positions is a new full-time permanent Consultant Physician post with 32 hours per week based at Roscommon County Hospital and a further seven hours/week based at Galway University Hospitals which allows the consultant to access treatment services at all local hospitals.
This investment in consultant staff is a very positive development for Roscommon County Hospital and will allow for the expansion of local medical services but the important issue now is to secure suitably qualified candidates for the positions. This has been a challenge across the HSE in recent years with up to one-third of consultant posts not being filled.
“However, this €750,000 a year investment in Roscommon Hospital for the development of services for older people, to stop them being admitted to hospital & allowing them to return home quicker, will make this particular job in Roscommon more attractive,” says Denis Naughten.
The focus of the new work of the expanded medical team at Roscommon’s Medical Assessment Unit will be on preventing people, particularly older people, from having to be admitted to hospital in the first place and also minimising length of time people need to spend in hospital. This has already led to the training of 13 doctors in Roscommon Hospital who are now using this training in the care of older people attending the hospital.
“This is the first significant investment at the Urgent Care Centre in Roscommon Hospital since the A&E closed in 2011 and forms part of a commitment which I secured in the Programme for Government,” said Denis Naughten
“This will mean focusing on providing not just urgent care but also preventative care to older patients by working with those who might be prone to falling or who are less likely to return to their own home if they end up in hospital.”
Along with the new consultants local management at Roscommon Hospital is recruiting 15 additional staff including a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech & language therapist, dietician, pharmacist, social worker and specialist nurses who will form a multidisciplinary ‘Frailty Team’ focused on keeping older people out of hospital and out of nursing homes.
“By providing this new focus in Roscommon Hospital we can keep older people away from busy A&E Departments in other hospitals and have them treated locally,” stated Denis Naughten.
“Additionally a new consultant radiologist, radiographer and cardiac physiologist will allow the hospital to provide additional diagnostic tests so that people from Roscommon & East Galway don’t have to travel to Galway City for tests.
“These enhanced services will allow GPs to refer medical patients to the MAU for a range of issues including falls, breathlessness, stable chest pain, neurology and rheumatology conditions, many of which, if they remain untreated, can lead to a visit to A&E.
“The work of the new ‘Frailty Team’ will be to assess older patients who attend the MAU and provide diagnostics and therapies with the aim of avoiding the need to admit the patient to the hospital.”
Other developments at Roscommon Hospital include the introduction of a bi-weekly heart failure clinic led by Dr John Barton, Consultant Cardiologist, supported by a cardiac rehab clinical nurse specialist; the development of urology services by Dr Eamonn Rogers; and the appointment of Ms. Amy Forde, as the first Endoscopy Registered Nurse Practitioner.
“I am delighted that the additional funding I secured for Roscommon Hospital is now being provided to allow for the MAU to significantly increase the number of patients it can treat and make a real difference to the health of older people in County Roscommon & East Galway,” concluded Denis Naughten.