Some patients to be transferred directly to RUH under new programme

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Pic: Gregory Clarke

The National Ambulance Service (NAS) and Roscommon University Hospital have agreed a programme that will allow for some patients to be transferred directly to RUH if they meet strict criteria.

The programme which involves strict clinical and geographical criteria will see a small cohort of stable medical patients transferred by NAS to the Model 2 site for treatment.

The medical assessment unit in Roscommon currently treats patients referred by GPs.

Under this new agreement, this referral pathway will now be extended to include paramedics.

It is essential that unwell medical patients do not attend the unit without a referral, and  the HSE will closely monitor the impact of the pathway.

The referral programme will begin on Monday, 16 January and will operate between the hours of 9am and 3pm.

During this time period, stable medical patients that meet the agreed clinical criteria and live within the catchment area will be referred to RUH instead of an Emergency Department when it is safe to do so.

The pathway will result in patients receiving medical treatment in a hospital closer to their home and will release ambulances more quickly to respond to other emergency calls.

112/999 patients that do not meet these clinical criteria will continue to be transported to Emergency Departments for assessment and treatment.

The pathway for emergency calls was successfully trialled in North Cork and Mallow General Hospital in 2022 and has since been rolled out to Ennis Hospital in the Mid-West.

A total of 29 patients were transported to Mallow General Hospital instead of Cork University Hospital during the three-month trial.

Mary Garvey, Hospital Manager at RUH welcomed the move, saying “this pathway involves a clear definition of patient groups who would benefit from such a referral.”

“This is essential so that all healthcare professionals concerned, including paramedics and doctors, can be assured that we are bringing the right patients to the right location.”

John Joe McGowan, Chief Ambulance Officer, West, added: “We’re happy to expand this pathway to Roscommon University Hospital following the success of its initial trial in Cork in 2022 and launch in Ennis earlier this month.”