CHAIRMAN of the the Roscommon Hospital Action Committee (RHAC), Mr John McDermott, has commended Mayo supporters on their understanding and support at Dr Hyde Park on Sunday.
Speaking to The Mayo News yesterday (Monday), Mr McDermott said he was delighted with the well-attended Roscommon Hospital protest led by Independent TD Luke Ming Flanagan and the collaborative efforts inside the ground to highlight the A and E closure, which took place at last Sunday’s Connacht Football Final
“We had Mayo supporters as well as Roscommon ones who were quite happy to bring in crosses. That was really heartening. It was fantastic to see that they were supporting us and are aware of the issues.”
McDermott was commenting on Monday as he sat down with other committee members to meet their legal counsel as they investigate options for official legal action against the closure.
He said: “We’re just investigating the possibility and evaluating all of our options. I’ll know more in a few hours time.”
Approximately 1,500 people attended Sunday’s protest and Mr McDermott said the energy and the atmosphere which was created was empowering despite the horrendous conditions and he was not overly concerned that the Taoiseach did not attend.
“We had a plan to hold a visual and a peaceful protest. At no point had we ever planned to disrupt anybody going to the match. If the Taoiseach had attended he would have seen our banners and heard our chanting but that would be it.
“People are very angry. They denied that the future of the A and E department was at risk and then they admitted that in actual fact it was. That part of it is very disappointing. People are very disillusioned and have lost confidence in our political leaders.”
Recently Dr James Reilly said that he had results which proved that the mortality rate in cardiac patients was four times higher in Roscommon Hospital as opposed to Galway University Galway. McDermott however disputes this claim and states that it is ‘factually incorrect’.
He said Minister Reilly informed the Dáil that the mortality rate at Roscommon Hospital was 21 per cent for coronary cases during the past three years; however he stipulates that the committee viewed figures which showed the mortality rate was between 3.5 per cent and 5 per cent.
A health department spokesman defended Dr Reilly’s figures and stated that they were quoted in the Dáil following the HSE decision to close the emergency department. He reiterated that the decision was not based on these figures and had been validated after two HIQA reports.
McDermott said that medical consultant and Independent Senator John Crown had verified that these figures were wholly inaccurate. “Professor Crown offered independent evidence which showed that at worst Roscommon Hospital was on par if not better than Galway in relation to cardiac performance.
Chairman McDermott concluded, “Our protests will continue. Every day we will have between five and fifteen people at the hospital. We aim to show people that we’re here to stay and we’re not going away. After our legal discussions the committee will meet at the end of the week to decide on our next step.”