When speaking to a number of people who work within Roscommon's health services, and subsequently a number of service users, I was concerned to find that the administrative borders of our health services are quite inconvenient for people living in some border towns.
One individual shocked me when they explained how service users in Monksland must travel to Roscommon town to avail of assistance, even though the same services are provided in Athlone town, the geographically logical choice. I was informed of another instance where a service user in Cortober moved to the Leitrim side of Carrick-on-Shannon. The result being that a file had to be closed in Roscommon and the case referred to the Leitrim service. Not to mention the fact that this user had been required to travel from Carrick-on-Shannon to Roscommon town prior to moving.
This system seems to place some rather unnecessary expense on service users, as well as undue stress. Given that parts of Athlone (Monksland), Carrick-on-Shannon (Cortober) and even parts of Ballinasloe span across county borders, one would imagine that the geographic proximity of users to services would be taken into consideration when assigning services.
To my knowledge this is not an issue that has been raised before, which given what service users had to say to me, was surprising. I would see it as a progressive move should service administrators review the current arrangements with a view to taking geographic proximity, and not just county borders, into consideration when assigning services.
I don't suggest to advocate on behalf of all service users, nor do I want to suggest that I have the answer to this issue, or that there is an easy solution. I would simply like to see some action from administrators to see if they can make life a bit easier for service users in these border towns, who so often get the short straw in matters such as these.
This week I was pleased to hear some rare words of adoration from a number of people with regard to the commencement of construction of the new endoscopy unit at Roscommon County Hospital. As we are all well aware, the hospital issue has been one of much controversy in the county for the past three years.
The saga has heralded many ups and many downs. In typical Irish fashion however we have amplified the downs and glossed over the ups. My views on the administration of Roscommon's health services have been made well known in recent times and I will not rehash what has already been said. I'm sure we can all agree that Roscommon's journey to recovery has just began. The road ahead is long and no doubt as a county we will face many obstacles but we should reflect on what this new unit truly means for the future of Roscommon County Hospital.
The objective of the Department of Health is to develop rural hospitals into centres of excellence specialising in delivering expert services to service users. Thanks to the trojan work of Frank Feighan TD, Roscommon has managed to secure it's future as a centre of excellence and we should welcome the development of the new endoscopy unit with open arms. It is part of the human condition that very often we fail to appreciate the upsides of these situations but I for one will certainly make a better effort to show my appreciation in the future.
It just so happens that I underwent a routine endoscopy at Roscommon hospital only a few short weeks ago. In stark contrast to my brothers experience with the HSE recently I cannot praise the service at our county hospital enough. The nurses were jolly, the doctors obliging and the toast amazing! In all seriousness, I was stunned to no end at the great level of service I received. It is important that the public do not loose sight of the fact that we have a real resource in our county's hospital and that we should appreciate all the effort that goes into maintaining and developing it's services, at all levels.
We have a brilliant hospital here in Roscommon with a great staff and a bright future. If we utilise the services to their full extent then we can start to build on the strong foundation that has been set. If we choose to, we can all help to ensure the future of Roscommon County Hospital and the future of Roscommon as a whole. We have some way to go yet but if we can continue to have these little victories we will get to where we want to go as a county.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Ballyleague has received a well deserved economic and social boost in recent weeks having secured funding for and broke ground on a fantastic river bank regeneration project. The Ballyleague Village Renewal have done trojan work to secure the funding and they must be applauded for their efforts. In truth this project means quite a lot more than meets the eye for not only Ballyleague, but also the greater mid-west region.
For years the Shannon corridor, enjoyed a rich and rewarding tourism industry thanks to the offerings of our fantastic network of rivers and lakes. The fishing tourism industry alone was reported to be worth up to eight million a year. Sadly during the “boom” years our focus was on construction and housing, and Roscommon failed to capitalize on our wonderful natural amenities.
As we are all painfully aware, there is now a jobs crisis in Roscommon. We have very weak job growth. We've seen one generation lost to emigration and another to perpetual underemployment. The only option we have should we hope to see recovery in our lifetimes is to grow industries such as tourism. A strong tourism industry in a region means jobs.
If we can continue to develop projects such as the one at Ballyleague we can take back control of our economic destinies. Roscommon has the potential, should we choose to achieve it, to become a serious contender on the tourism scene. Especially as our potential reaches far beyond what our waterways can offer. We have parks, hills, culturally/historically significant walkways, towns and buildings, that if maximized would establish Roscommon as a serious tourist destination.
I have been impressed in recent weeks by the regeneration of Strokestown and the number of tourists who now inspect the historical murals and prose which decorate the towns buildings. A local man I know recently kayaked out from Lanesboro and was totally gob-smacked by the views, landscape and wildlife he saw. He could not believe that this beauty was right on his doorstop. It's time we looked again at what seems familiar and ordinary, and rediscovered the magnificence of our environment and realized its true economic potential.
"If you're willing to keep moving forward, eventually you will succeed."
All opinions and views expressed are my own, they do not necessarily reflect the positions of my businesses.
One reader asked why I monitor my comments and why they must be approved, and just for the rest of you it's not for censorship, it's because of Spam-bots. I'll publish all comments posted by real people :)