Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly Launches New Roscommon Palliative Care Unit

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly Launches New Roscommon Palliative Care Unit and US President Joe Biden Sends Well Wishes

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, officially launched the new Roscommon Palliative Care Unit on November 5th, located on the Athlone Road in Roscommon. It comes two years after the opening of Mayo Hospice in Castlebar.

Roscommon Palliative Care Unit has been built on a site purchased by Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation. The eight-bed inpatient unit with full day-care came in under budget at €6.3 million. Both hospices were developed and paid for by fundraised income (a combined €15.5 million) and are a result of the great support received from the people of Mayo and Roscommon.

Attendees at the launch included Foundation ambassadors and supporters, representatives from the HSE, Saolta University Health Care Group and Roscommon County Council, volunteers, support groups, fundraisers and donors. Tommy Fleming entertained the invited guests.

Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation has been in existence since 1993 and exists to provide palliative care services to people with life-limiting illnesses and their families in County Mayo and County Roscommon. Over the past 28 years, the Palliative Care Teams have assisted in the care of over 18,000 patients and their families. In 2020 during the pandemic, the Foundation cared for 924 patients and carried out 4,474 home visits.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Donnelly said:

“I am delighted to be here today to officially open the Roscommon Palliative Care Support Unit. This building and the people it will serve is a wonderful testament to the local community’s generosity and goodwill.

My Department and I are strongly committed to progressing palliative care services across Ireland. We want to ensure equitable access to palliative care services in every region of the country which will meet the palliative care needs of all who require it as our population grows and ages into the future. It is days like today when we get to understand the real value of comprehensive family and person-centred palliative care.”

Minister Frank Feighan also attended the launch. He said:

“The Roscommon Palliative Care Support Unit is representative of the many years of positive engagement between the voluntary and public sectors. It shows how powerful the community spirit and altruism are, that dwells within our rural community here. Everyone involved should be especially proud of their achievement in getting this care support unit up and running.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to those involved in the work of palliative care, not only in our own region but throughout the country for the vigorous energy and commitment which they show on a daily basis.”

Mike Smith Chairperson of Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation said:

“I’m thrilled that Minister Donnelly is here today to launch Roscommon Hospice. The dedication that the local community has shown over the last 28 years to get both Roscommon Hospice and the Mayo Hospice up and running is just remarkable. These services are so badly needed in this community and to be here today and hear the stories of how our services have serviced families in both Mayo and Roscommon really makes it all worthwhile.”

Martina Jennings, Chief Executive of Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation, said:

“Everyone involved in fundraising was determined to ensure that patients with life-limiting illnesses from Mayo and Roscommon have the best possible facilities, where they can be cared for with dignity and respect. I’m very proud of what has been achieved and that’s thanks to the communities of Mayo and Roscommon and all of our supporters, volunteers, fundraisers and donors. I am also incredibly grateful to the Saolta University Health Care Group, the HSE and the Department of Health for supporting the Roscommon Palliative Care Unit by providing Clinical and Operational Governance, and ongoing funding towards the Unit. The Palliative Care Unit was built throughout the pandemic and I cannot thank the team who were involved in the whole process enough. We will be forever indebted to them. We’ve had a great response to our open days in September and I’m delighted we could have guests here at today’s launch.”

Tony Canavan, CEO of the Saolta University Health Care Group said:

“The Saolta Group is honoured to be part of this vital service for the Roscommon community. This centre will offer much-needed support for patients and families dealing with life-limiting conditions. The local communities have worked tirelessly to bring this unit to fruition and the dignity and care it will provide to patients and their families will stand as a testament to their efforts. The Saolta Group, and in particular Roscommon University Hospital, will carry out our role of providing Clinical and Operational Governance with the utmost care and consideration as we aim to improve the quality of life of all future patients.”

US President Joe Biden sent a video to Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation, wishing them well on their launch day. President Biden has a long association with the Foundation, has turned the first sod at their Mayo Hospice in 2017. To view the video click here.