The local man who first highlighted concerns over respiratory services at Roscommon Hospital is disputing HSE claims that the service is still available at the hospital.
This week Roscommon Hospital moved to allay fears that respiratory services at the hospital may be closing.
The hospital confirmed that the vacancy which arose because of the resignation of the permanent Respiratory Consultant almost three years ago has still not been filled.
In a statement, the hospital went on to say that it had been decided that respiratory patients would continue to be seen by a Consultant Physician at Roscommon University Hospital and referred on to a Consultant in Respiratory Medicine in another hospital, as required.
The hospital stressed that all respiratory patients should continue to attend their appointments at Roscommon University Hospital as scheduled.
Castleplunkett resident Henry Hughes, who first highlighted this issue on Shannonside Radio, is not happy with the HSE/hospital response.
Mr. Hughes says that people with serious respiratory problems will not be treated at Roscommon Hospital and that COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) clinics will not be held there. Alarmed at the HSE stance – which went public earlier this week – Mr. Hughes contacted the Roscommon People.
“I spoke to a Risk Manager at Roscommon Hospital on Wednesday (yesterday) and she confirmed the position. She said there will be no more clinics for anyone with COPD”.
Mr. Hughes said that people who have minor respiratory issues will be treated and that all patients with appointments are indeed being advised to attend the hospital. However, he contends, people with serious respiratory problems, on turning up for their appointment, will be told they are not being treated in Roscommon and that they can choose an alternative hospital (at which to be treated).
Business as usual? What the hospital said
In correspondence to Deputy Eugene Murphy, Mary Garvey, General Manager of Roscommon University Hospital, wrote: “In January 2016 the permanent Respiratory Consultant in Roscommon University Hospital resigned. The respiratory service continued with a locum consultant while efforts to recruit a permanent replacement were ongoing. Unfortunately the post did not attract any suitable candidates.
“It was decided that respiratory patients would continue to be seen by a Consultant Physician at Roscommon University Hospital and referred on to a Consultant in Respiratory Medicine in another hospital, as required.
“Roscommon University Hospital has a specialist respiratory nurse who works closely with the Consultant Physicians in Roscommon and the Consultant in Respiratory Medicine in Portiuncula University Hospital in managing these patients according to their clinical needs.
“All respiratory patients should continue to attend their appointments at Roscommon University Hospital as scheduled”.
Deputy Murphy noted the reply, stating that the response points out that the hospital has been unable to fill the permanent respiratory consultant post following the resignation of the consultant in January 2016.
This, he said, opens up a bigger question as to problems attracting and retaining consultant posts in hospital such as Roscommon.
Deputy Murphy said that it would appear from the hospital statement that respiratory services are still available at Roscommon and patients are being referred on to a consultant in respiratory medicine in another hospital as required.