Services for older people to stop them being admitted to hospital and encouraging a quicker return to their homes, are to be developed at the former A&E at Roscommon Hospital according to local deputy Denis Naughten.

A reform of Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) services at Roscommon Hospital with an expanded range of services and additional staffing to ensure that the unit is better able to meet the needs of the local population, has been confirmed by the deputy.

 Earlier this year €750,000 per year was secured to expand services at the Medical Assessment Unit at the hospital with a view to extending the opening hours. However on review by hospital management it was deemed more beneficial, at this stage, to reform the service to provide an expanded model of care “more relevant to our local population, particularly older people and GP services” and which works within the constraints on the existing number of hospital beds.

 The focus will be on preventing people from having to be admitted to hospital in the first place and also minimizing the length of time people need to spend in hospital.

 Deputy Naughton says this is the first significant investment at the Urgent Care Centre in Roscommon Hospital since the A&E closed in 2011 and forms part of a commitment which he says he secured in the Programme for Government. 

To facilitate the development  the hospital is in the process of recruiting 15 additional staff including a consultant physician, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech & language therapist, dietician, pharmacist, social worker and specialist nurses who will form a multidisciplinary ‘Fraility Team’. 

Additionally a new consultant radiologist, radiographer and cardiac physiologist will allow the hospital to provide additional diagnostics.

The enhanced services will allow GPs, he says, to refer medical patients to the MAU for a range of issues including falls, breathlessness, stable chest pain, neurology and rheumatology conditions. 

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