Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Letter to the Editor

Reply to Deputy Frank Feighan’s letter 

A Chara,

I wish to reply to Deputy Frank Feighan’s letter of 22nd June regarding the hospital issue. The only fears consultants at the hospital had at the time in question, was the lack of sufficient funding from the Government/HSE to recruit junior doctors, senior clinical supervisers and one or two anaesthetists in order to maintain the high standards then obtaining in Roscommon Hospital - a very understandable feeling indeed. 

  Of course it wasn’t long in the public domain until it was “twisted” by the professional “spinners” to read that the consultants had “fears about safety” - a very different interpretation - one that the “gullible peasants will swallow”. 

  Well, we did not, and will not, swallow this bitter pill. Can you imagine running a business in that fashion - when short-staffed, don’t recruit, just close down the most essential part?

  I note regarding shortage of anaesthetists that ... ‘concerns were also raised that the hospital would be forced to go ‘off call’ in the event of transfer or emergency.’ Well I am aware that at least one of the hospitals that Roscommon people are being forcefully sent to, had to go ‘off call’ recently because of over capacity in its A & E. That’s a great source of comfort to future transferees.  

  HSE informed HIQA that it, and not the politicians, had made the decision to change services in Roscommon.  Why then had we been told in no uncertain terms, that HIQA had made the decision? Doesn’t this seriously undermine the credibility of all the “facts” supplied to you Frank? Isn’t it time you listened to those who elected you and not be the spokesman for those who would like to see Roscommon become a “reservation”!

  Had you stood up to those people and sought funding for the recruitment of the necessary staff, you would not be trying to defend the indefensible today. I agree with you regarding the downgrading of the hospital by previous Governments, indeed going back to Barry Desmond’s time, but you could easily have rectified that, showed them up and also kept the promises made before the election.

  This is what the people of Roscommon expected from the “fresh thinking of a new Government” - this is what you promised and then reneged on. The terrible thing is that it could’ve been delivered for less cost than the present disastrous system.

  ‘HSE managing clinical risks for patients in small hospitals’ is this the same HSE entrusted with the health, safety and welfare of children/young people, 200 of whom lost their lives, according to a damming report last week?  Please spare us. Would Hopeless Shameful Entity not be a more apt title? 

  The people of Roscommon are realists - they do not  expect or are not demanding a centre of Excellence.  They simply want their own A & E unit, which was built by Roscommon people for the benefit of those in emergencies, reopened, so that it can either cure them or stabilise them, until they are transferred to a C of Ex. Nothing more or nothing less.

   Regarding “detailed evidence” and  “expert opinion”, I will simply refer you to a high profile court case in Cork last week, where medical consultants gave diametrically opposing evidence on oath to the court and of course were subject to cross-examination. Who was the jury to believe?  

Frank, as I’ve previously said, no amount of investment in other non-emergencey services, will replace the temporarily-closed A & E unit. It’s a bit like closing a post office and saying ‘we’ll give you a carrier pigeon instead’.  


Is mise,

Bill Cunningham


Issue dated: 29 June 2012
© Roscommon People