In response to recent letters in your newspaper on the issue of Roscommon Hospital, I want to repeat again that the future of the hospital has never been more secure or safe.
In 2011 only 9% of the people with Roscommon addresses used the hospital and consultants working there had warned that things were spiralling out of control and could not stand over the safety of patients.
As the only Government TD in the constituency, I have exercised my influence at the highest level to ensure an investment programme of €20m is being injected into the hospital. Over the last four years, I have attended hundreds of meetings at every level to ensure the long-term future of the hospital.
At the heart of these major investment plans on the grounds of Roscommon Hospital are an Endoscopy Suite, which is due to open in a few months time: a Medical Rehabilitation Centre which will serve the Western region and a major Palliative Care Centre. The plans have also included the introduction of a range of new services, which are substantially increasing activity.
Since July 2011, Roscommon Hospital is a much safer and much busier hospital. The consultants and management at the hospital are fully supportive of the changes in the delivery of the type of services there. Two consultants at hospital have gone on the public record to confirm categorically that the hospital is safer and busier.
As I have said before, I invite people and politicians to go in and ask the experts working in the hospital about these developments, which have been enhanced by other support services such as the introduction of the successful air ambulance service and advanced paramedics.
I also fully believe that if I had walked away, Roscommon wouldn’t have a voice at the highest level, not just in relation to the hospital but in relation to a range of other important local and national issues such as jobs, farming and infrastructure. I have helped to deliver over €200m in infrastructural projects in this constituency.
There is no doubt that 2014 has been a challenging year for the people of Roscommon. We have been coming out of the most difficult recession in the history of the State and this does not happen overnight. Major progress has been made however, the economy is clearly picking up, and the same can be expected for 2015.
If I was interested in safeguarding my political career, I could have taken the easy option and walked away. However, I stood by this country and the people of Roscommon/South Leitrim in very difficult circumstances. Being a politician is not about being liked but about making the right decisions.
Four years ago politicians and others said the hospital would close, funds would not be made available and people would die. The hospital is busier than ever, at least 50 lives have been saved by the introduction of the air ambulance and advanced paramedics and the hospital has a secure future.
Now I think it is time for those politicians and political commentators to apologise to the people of Roscommon for misleading them with their false accusations and inaccurate information. They have done more to undermine the confidence of the sterling work that Roscommon hospital does and cause confusion, unnecessary fear and hysteria with their comments which now have proven unfounded. This issue in the last 4 years has caused me a lot of personal hurt from people who should have known better, however I know that my actions have saved many lives and jobs in the hospital and history will prove me right.
Frank Feighan, TD