Roscommon Hospital Action Committee is considering taking a legal action, either in the Irish courts or in Europe, if the Government presses ahead with the closure of the emergency department of Roscommon County Hospital on evenings and at weekends.
Chairman of the Hospital Action Committee (HAC) John McDermott told the Westmeath Independent yesterday (Tuesday) that it was considering a number of actions, including legal action, if the plans to curtail services at the hospital goes ahead.
It emerged last week that ambulance personnel had been informed that from July 11 this year the emergency department would only operate from 8am to 8pm from Monday to Thursday; from 8am to 5pm on Friday and close completely over the weekend.
On Sunday members of the HAC met with the constituency's three TDs - Denis Naughten, Frank Feighan and Luke 'Ming' Flanagan - and it was agreed that a meeting would be set up with Health Minister James Reilly this week to discuss the issue.
However, following Minister Reilly's comments on RTÉ's Frontline on Monday night, where he stated that while major hospitals will not be affected by the junior doctor shortage rural hospitals will have a real difficulty, the HAC's concerns were heightened
Mr McDermott said the Minister knew about the situation before the election and had given a commitment on Roscommon Hospital and the HAC planned to ensure he followed through on that commitment.
"He knew at the time it was happening. We all knew it was happening. He can't say now it's the other crowd's fault," said Mr McDermott.
"We plan to make our case to him and we are looking at taking legal action, either in the Irish courts or in Europe. We have a case in both. We will consider other actions also," he said.
Fine Gael Deputy Denis Naughten said the meeting will be set up with the minister and said there was serious risk to Roscommon Hospital, which he said was the most serious risk to date to the hospital.
"We have a shortage of junior doctors. I know the minister is actively working on it and is having talks with the Medical Council and the training facilities with a view to solving this," he said. "It is not Government policy to see the emergency department in Roscommon Hospital closed."
Deputy Naughten said if it were to be closed the emergency departments in Portiuncula and in Galway would be unable to cope with the additional patients, but he said the minister could not create junior doctors where there were none.
If the closure were to go ahead Deputy Naughten said it would cause chaos in the health system in the west.
"It would cause a chaotic situation in the west, for Portiuncula, Galway and the ambulance service. The closure of Roscommon emergency department is not a prospect any of us want to face," he said.
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|Date:||Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 8:01:35 AM|