Pledge to continue hospital protest

Wed, Aug 10, 2011, 01:00

CAMPAIGNERS OPPOSED to the closure of Roscommon County Hospital’s emergency department have pledged to continue their action, following a peaceful overnight sit-in.

The sit-in at the hospital’s “urgent care unit” concluded at 8am yesterday. Roscommon Hospital Action Committee spokesman John McDermott said it was “very successful”.

The protest, which was sustained by a core of about 20 people overnight, involved several hundred people initially, he said.

It was a “symbolic gesture” to mark the fact that 24-hour cover was no longer being provided. “We believe the community is 100 per cent behind us in retaining our emergency department.” It was opened in 2005 at a cost of €8 million.

Mr McDermott said his campaign was calling on the Health Information Quality Authority to undertake an independent safety assessment of the new arrangements the Health Service Executive West had put in place to deal with emergencies in Roscommon.

Minister for Health Dr James Reilly said over a month ago that the hospital’s 24-hour emergency unit was to be replaced with an urgent care centre, which would operate between 8am and 8pm. A temporary month-long service from 8pm to 8am, provided by non-consultant hospital doctors and supervised by a surgical consultant, finished on Monday.