New consultant starts in Roscommon Hospital – Naughten

In Health, News, Older People by Denis Naughten

16 strong new medical team first major investment in Urgent Care Centre since A&E closed


A new full-time permanent Consultant Physician will take up a post at Roscommon University Hospital next Monday as part of a team of 16 additional medical staff being recruited as a result of investment secured in Budget 2018 by Denis Naughten TD.

“The €750,000 investment in additional medical staffing at Roscommon Hospital is the first major investment in the A&E facilities since its closure in 2011 and will specifically focus on keeping older people out of hospital and nursing homes,” stated Denis Naughten.

The Consultant will be based at Roscommon University Hospital for 32 hours/week with a further seven hours/week at Galway University Hospitals, allowing access to treatment services at all local hospitals.

“When I secured this investment for a Roscommon University Hospital it was dismissed by some on the basis that we would not be able to recruit a suitably qualified candidate,” said Denis Naughten. “Not only have we been able to do this, but we have secured the appointment of a doctor who knows the area, has already built up a strong relationship with the medical profession and as a result will be able to hit the ground running.

“This investment in the appointment of 16 medical staff at a cost of €750,000 each year is a very positive development for Roscommon Hospital and will allow for the expansion of local medical services and  the development of new services for older people. This will help stop them being admitted to hospital and allow them to return home quicker.”

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 minimising the 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 consultant, local management at Roscommon Hospital is recruiting 15 additional staff including a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech and 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 and 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 while next Friday the results of the development of a  rapid access service for patients who have symptoms of blood in the urine (haematuria) will be presented by Dr Eamonn Rogers at the hospital and he will outline plans to roll out the ‘Roscommon model’  nationwide. 

Plans are also well advanced to develop Roscommon University Hospital as a National Centre of Excellence for Urology which is being spearheaded by locally based and  Knockcroghery native  Dr Eamonn Rogers.

“This is a very exciting time for Roscommon University Hospital and is the first time in decades that we have seen a significant boost in medical staffing at the hospital which is so vital to not only maintain services but to develop and expand new services that are needed by people throughout County Roscommon,” said Denis Naughten.

“I am delighted that the additional funding I secured for Roscommon Hospital is now being provided to allow 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 and East Galway.”