Roscommon Hospital Action Committee has this week called for an independent inquiry into the Health Service Executive West for what they describe as “budgeting blunders” which left the HSE West needing €50 million in savings by the end of the year to remain within budget.
A press conference planned by Roscommon Hospital Action Committee this week was cancelled due to the death of Mr Maurice Neligan, who was to speak at the press conference.
The committee say that the proposed HSE budget cuts will result in services being withdrawn, postponed, or cancelled at Roscommon County Hospital.
“The major concern of the Roscommon Hospital Action Committee is that if any services are withdrawn we fear they will not be reinstated,” read a statement released this week.
“Not only this, but a further reduction of €80 million in budgets across services in the HSE region is being predicted for 2011. Roscommon County Hospital will be devastated, with no hope of reinstating the services cut in the following years.
“But the HSE has not answered how they propose to treat ill people or even how they intend to offer basic hospital services if the 2010 cuts being talked about are implemented and further devastating cuts are made in 2011.”
The committee says there is no clarity as to which health service areas and jobs will be affected by the proposed cutting of 7,000 hours from contracted staff per week.
Regarding the closure of beds and theatres in acute hospitals like Roscommon, they say that with winter the busiest time and a high population of older people living in the area “any bed closures will have detrimental effects on patients”.
They add that the closure of theatres and the resulting delay for patients in accessing treatment will result in patients’ conditions deteriorating and will increase the numbers attending at A&E.
“People cannot postpone being sick or needing treatment. It is a disgrace that patients will be without services from now until the end of the year because the budget was not managed in a way that ensured services were available for the full 12 months of this year.
“Roscommon County Hospital is continuing to offer medical surgical, psychiatric, and Accident and Emergency services on a 24/7 basis. It also has an extremely busy Medical Assessment Unit. Meanwhile we are down six beds and some theatre nurses with general pressure on the numbers of nurses throughout the hospital where staff have not been replaced. Our hospital is busy, our people are sick, and they deserve timely treatment. We can’t let the economic downturn dictate the quality of health we offer our people. We must rise above this and look for ways that offer top quality services to patients,” the statement concluded.