Former Minister Michael Finneran issued the following statement: “Having retired as a Public representative last March, I had not intended to engage in this controversy regarding services at Roscommon County Hospital - however having read and listened to media reports recently I feel I must comment.
It is almost unbelievable that within 3 months, this new Government would move to dismantle the Acute General Hospital in Roscommon and propose to substitute it with something similar to a primary care unit with reduced in patient beds.
Where is the written commitment given by Dr. Reilly and circulated by the now three Government Oireachtas members in Roscommon. Was it just a cynical political ploy to garnish votes – if so it must be the greatest political 3 card trick of all time.
Surely this Government and Minister Reilly must realise that under the three previous Ministers of Health since 1997, Roscommon County Hospital has been extended, refurbished and upgraded with a most modern A & E Department incorporating a Medical assessment unit. All wards were refurbished, theatres and medical record areas upgraded and the Hospital was provided with a new C.T scanner. Consultant posts were doubled and a 25% increase in staffing numbers at an overall cost of over €17 million.
Does this Government realise that because of its political decision to downgrade Roscommon County Hospital it is removing Acute General Hospital Services from in excess of 70,000 people who in future emergencies will have to travel a minimum of 50 miles to the next nearest A & E with no doubt loss of life of some stroke, heart attack and accident victims. Is this not the greatest crime perpetrated on the people of Roscommon since their Hospital was built some 70 years ago.
Did I hear in the blunt statement from the present Taoiseach speaking in Monksland recently, that he understood the concerns of the Roscommon people at the loss of there hospital? Does Dr. Reilly take the people of Roscommon for fools with his hiding behind the H.I.Q.A. Report and stating publicly that our hospital is unsafe, with no regard to the sensitivities of the excellent staff. If H.I.Q.A in a report next month outlined deficiencies in Castlebar General Hospital, would Dr. Reilly move to downgrade the Hospital or would he instruct the H.S.E to address the problems.
The three former Ministers of health, Brian Cowen, Michael Martin and Mary Harney at my insistence supported the development of Roscommon County hospital and the retention of its services as a Acute General Hospital.
Dr. Reilly should now honour his letter to the people of Roscommon by stating that it is his Government’s policy to retain Acute General Hospital services at Roscommon County Hospital and then the H.S.E would be obliged to address any patient safety issues including the provision of the adequate number of House doctors.
This government may feel that moving against Roscommon County Hospital at the start of their term will have less impact politically at the next general election - this is not the case - if the people of Roscommon are deprived of there Acute Hospital Services now, it will be remembered and discussed, not alone by this generation but by the next also.”