For years he was widely recognised as one of the most passionate campaigners for Roscommon’s often embattled health services – and now he’s at the heart of a new initiative which looks certain to save lives across the region.
John McDermott, the former chairperson of the Roscommon Hospital Action Committee, was a vocal campaigner for many years – including in the tumultuous period before, during and after the closure of Roscommon Accident & Emergency Unit.
Recently, arising directly from his experience as a health services’ campaigner, John became involved with Cork-based Irish Community Rapid Response. ICRR is a voluntary network which delivers professional pre-hospital A&E care directly to the location of emergencies throughout the country.
John McDermott has now set up a Roscommon branch of the Irish Community Rapid Response and in the coming weeks he will oversee the launch of the project locally.
John outlined details of this initiative to the Roscommon People.
“What we are launching is essentially a Roscommon branch of Irish Community Rapid Response” John said, explaining that a new rapid response vehicle will be a support for the ambulance service and that it will be staffed by volunteer doctors.
“This medical jeep will provide medical back-up to paramedic ambulance crews who are dealing with medical emergencies. Currently the National Ambulance Service dispatches ambulances. If we (Rapid Response) can get there quicker – due, for example, to an ambulance not being available – it could save a life or lives”.
The new service will provide support in cases of medical emergencies and actually have a ‘first responder’ role where an ambulance is unavailable or delayed.
There are already six such Rapid Response vehicles in use around the country, all due to this community initiative. The Roscommon-based vehicle will be directly supported by two medical Consultants who are based at Roscommon Hospital, namely Dr. Gerry O’Mara and Dr. Tariq Khan.
These Consultants will accompany the Rapid Response jeep to the scene of an emergency. Further support is being provided by local GPs.
The new service is expected to be rolled out in County Roscommon next month.
John McDermott wished to thank Ministers Michael Ring and Denis Naughten for grant-aid; the HSE and Roscommon Hospital; the medical personnel who are providing support, and also Sean White (Renault, Athlone) for sponsoring the vehicle.