‘Some’ patients can now transfer by ambulance to RUH

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

The programme which involves strict clinical and geographical criteria will see a small cohort of patients with minor injuries transferred by NAS to the injury unit for treatment.

Roscommon injury unit is an alternative to a busy ED, treating breaks, sprains, dislocations, burns and wounds. Staff take X-rays, apply plaster casts and treat wounds by stitches or other means. They provide swift access to tests, can refer patients to specialist care and arrange follow-up appointments where necessary.

The Injury Unit is open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm to treat a range of injuries in both adults and children over five years of age. You don’t need an appointment or a GP referral.

Patients attending Roscommon Injury Unit are typically seen and discharged quicker than if they attended the Emergency Department (ED), where patients with more serious illnesses take priority. You do not need an appointment to attend Roscommon Injury Unit and the cost to attend the Injury Unit is €75. There is no charge for patients with full medical cards or with a valid medical/GP referral letter.

Under this new agreement, the National Ambulance Service paramedics will also transfer patients with minor injuries to the unit. 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.

Ann Cosgrove, Chief Operations Officer with the Saolta University Health Care Group, which oversees RUH, welcomed the move. “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: “Many patients who present to the emergency department have non-urgent care needs that could be treated through an Injury Unit. Opening this pathway will allow our paramedics to bring patients to the most appropriate location in RUH for their treatment.”

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