A BALLYKELLY businessman has appealed to the Western Board to reconsider drastic cuts to the RoeDoc - after the service saved his life.
64-year-old Tommy Hasson took seriously ill at his home at the end of April this year and says if it hadn't been for the quick reaction of Western Urgent Care's Limavady base, he may not be here today.
"It was about eight or nine in the evening when I took quite sick. I didn't know it a the time but I was haemorrhaging. I was losing a lot of blood and my wife, who is a retired nurse, knew that it was time to get medical attention."
On the night, Mr Hasson, a lifelong businessman in Roe Valley, suffered a haemorrhage in his stomach. He contacted the RoeDoc who was at his Ballykelly home within 15 minutes.
Tommy said: "The doctor was actually there before the ambulance and he was brilliant.
"There's no doubt about it if the doctor hadn't have been as quick as he had It would not have been a good thing. The care and attention I received from Doctor Hunter and Western Urgent Care that night was excellent."
"I was in hospital for a while after that and since then I have always wanted to record my appreciation for the help I got that night. The people of Roe Valley need Western Urgent Care here in Limavady. If I had've waited an hour for that medical attention, well I might not be here."
Mr Hasson, proprietor of the renowned Tommy's Chippy in Ballykelly, says the service needs to remain intact within the borough so it can keep on providing "life saving" healthcare in the area.
Tommy adds: "Losing the RoeDoc in any way is a big loss to Roe Valley, it's invaluable, I can't speak for everyone but I know in my case I was grateful for the help I received. There's talk of response times being affected and if that's the case it's not good for the people in the area who may take as ill ads I did that evening."
Mr Hasson's comments were also back by around 100 people who attended the Roe Valley Leisure Centre last Wednesday in protest of the decision to cut the RoeDoc's service during the red-eye period. Over 5,000 signatures have also been collected by local representatives and businesses against the decision.
Under the new arrangements, from midnight until 8.30am, people in Limavady and Strabane would be covered by doctors in Londonderry, meaning there would be no base for out-of hours GP care in the borough. Dr Joe Devlin, a GP who has covered Western Urgent Care's Limavady base, made a special presentation at Limavady Borough Council last Tuesday about the dangers of cutting the RoeDoc service.
The doctor claimed if the planned cuts go ahead next month they would "hit hardest" the most vulnerable people in the community. Dr Devlin also claimed the change in service would push response times and push urgent cases into emergencies.