Denis Naughten has urged the public to consider using the local injury unit at Roscommon Hospital rather than waiting in overcrowded A&E departments, like Portiuncula & Castlebar.
“Patients should also ask GPs if they can have tests or x-rays in Roscommon Hospital rather than spending hours in an emergency department waiting to see a doctor before accessing x-rays or scans,” said Denis Naughten.
Roscommon’s Injury Unit can treat broken bones, dislocations, sprains, strains, wounds, scalds and minor burns that are unlikely to need admission to hospital. Staff in Roscommon’s Injury Unit perform x-rays, reduce joint dislocations, apply plaster casts and treat wounds by stitches or other means.
Denis Naughten pointed out: “We need to better utilise Roscommon’s injury unit, which can provide for quick diagnosis and discharge back into the community and ensure that people do not have long stays for tests, as is the case in emergency departments.
“The emergency departments at Portiuncula and Castlebar are at breaking point and with Roscommon’s injury unit just 30 minutes from Athlone, 40 minutes from Ballinasloe and 50 minutes from Claremorris, it would be far quicker for people to travel from these towns to Roscommon Hospital than go to Portiuncula or Castlebar, where they could be waiting all day to be seen.
“We need to take pressure off staff in Portiuncula and Castlebar, who are working under completely unacceptable conditions, and the best way to do that is to use units like Roscommon where it is suitable to do so.
“Following a proposal I made in 2019, fees for access to an injury unit have been reduced to €75 where someone has not been referred by their GP. Currently, people tend to go directly to accident and emergency departments rather than to injury units and I hope this measure will encourage people within the catchment area of Roscommon’s injury unit to go there instead of to overcrowded A&Es, like Portiuncula, where it is suitable to do so.
“Many injury units in hospitals like Roscommon have access to state-of-the-art diagnostics, in many cases the tests are read by the same consultants in the busier hospitals but significantly these units have much shorter waiting times than emergency departments,” concluded Denis Naughten.