The Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly, has agreed to an independent review of the research that is the basis for the reconfiguration of Accident and Emergency (A&E) services at Roscommon County Hospital.
The decision followed a four hour meeting which was attended by Dr Reilly and members of the Health committee. The latter is comprised of 23 TDs and senators. The meeting was also attended by members of the Roscommon Hospital Action Committee (HAC).
“We provided briefing documents to the committee,” said John McDermott, Chairperson of Roscommon HAC. “The Minister was then quizzed on all aspects of the data and in particular on heart mortality due to his recent comments.”
Although it’s too early to speculate the outcome of the independent review, Mr McDermott remains quietly confident that it will lead to a change in the fortunes of Roscommon County Hospital A&E.
“We feel that a review will agree with our view and that in turn will highlight the dangers to patient safety. From that point of view the decision (to downgrade A&E services at Roscommon County Hospital) would have to be reversed.”
In addition to this, Roscommon HAC is asking the Minister to extend the review to include the research data that formed the basis of his recent statements to the Dail regarding coroonary problems at Roscommon County Hospital.
“I will also be making a request to the Minister to retain the full A&E staff that are there at the moment, even though they are sitting around looking at one another. The standing joke is that we have everything in the A&E except the patients,” said Mr McDermott.
Since the beginning of the Roscommon HAC campaign, the committee has successfully raised awareness of the plight of Roscommon County Hospital not only at home but also further afield in countries such as America, Australia and New Zealand.
“We are getting huge support from everywhere and we really appreciate it,” said Mr McDermott. “We have got the message out there. So much so we’ve had people contact us wanting to donate money towards legal action.”
When asked if that was a route the HAC was willing to follow, Mr McDermott said that they would wait and see the results of further documentation.
“On one count we are ready to proceed but on another count, we need further information from the HSE,” he said. “We’re hoping that this is a path we do not need to follow and that the Minister will review his decision and the problem will be solved. At the end of the day, every citizen is entitled to basic health care and you don’t get more basic than A&E.”