Call to re-establish thrombolysis service

A county councillor and member of the HSE West’s regional health forum is calling on the health authority to re-establish a stroke service at Portiuncula Hospital.

The Ballinasloe facility suspended its thrombolysis service which was available on Monday to Fridays from 9am to 5pm following the resignation of the consultant geriatrician who led the service.

Roscommon politician Laurence Fallon highlighted the importance of the service at a recent meeting of the forum. He explained the treatment is used to dissolve blood clots and is administered to people within the first four hours of the onset of a stroke.

In reply Chris Kane, the general manager of the hospital, outlined that a locum consultant physician undertook to re-instigate training sessions for medical registrars and senior house officers with the aim of re-establishing the service.

“Training has been provided, however, there have been difficulties with the continuity of medical registrars and some posts are currently filled by agency doctors. Therefore it has not been possible at this stage to re-establish the service,”she said.

“The hospital is also endeavouring to fill these posts on a more long-term basis and the hospital is advertising the filling of a consultant geriatrician post.”

Meanwhile the forum meeting at Merlin Park was told that Portiuncula Hospital has a complement of six senior house officers in emergency medicine. Three of these posts have been filled since July and the others are being filled by agency doctors.

Ms Kane pointed out that the hospital is trying to recruit a registrar in emergency medicine into one of these posts but there is a shortage nationally of registrars in emergency medicine.

“We are also seeking to recruit general practitioners who may be able to provide sessions in the emergency department.”

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