DACC ask the people of Donegal “What more can we do to save our services”
No equality, no fairness, very limited health services if any for Donegal people!
What is to be done to save cancer services & Letterkenny Hospital for the people of Donegal? What will become of Donegal’s sick people?
We continue to work hard in a voluntary capacity but are afraid our worst fears have come true.
Letterkenny General Hospital is a proactive successful hospital delivering high quality standards of services often within limited budgets.
We don’t want anything for LGH for “nothing”, we ask for investment into Letterkenny Hospital because it has a proven track record.
Among these success’s in cancer services at LGH, supported by the National Cancer Control Programme and welcomed by patients are:
- North West Breast Unit including the new patient waiting area,
- The Oncology Nursing Programme led by Dr Janice Richmond,
- The Culposcopy Service,
- Colorectal Surgery,
- LGH one of the fifteen hospital units initially selected to carry out colonoscopy services as part of the national colorectal (bowel) cancer screening programme, which is due to start in 2012.
- LGH had a diagnostic prostate cancer clinic that was discontinued at Letterkenny General Hospital in March 2010 after 20 years service despite more than 100 cancers were diagnosed per year.
Donegal Action for Cancer Care are more concerned than ever that cancer services & Letterkenny Hospital are in serious danger of being de-stablised and the hospital is on the way to becoming a community hospital. A hospital without the staff & funding it needs to treat patients and with more budget cuts on the way DACC are asking, “will we have only skeleton services next year or maybe none at all”. DACC have kept the pressure on no over 6 & half years now, have travelled up & down the country, kept cancer services and issues on the agenda but now feel that they need help. In November 2008 DACC highlighted our concerns and we were told we were “scaremongering” as we have been told so many times since. Yet what we have predicted is now very much happening. Patients or their family members are phoning us daily with difficulties, it is crazy and we have yet to see the worst. DACC recognise and acknowledge the hard work ongoing within the hospital by the management & staff at all levels and we want the public to be clear that the decisions that are currently being taken that affect services are due to the fact the hospital budget has bene severely cut and they do not get the funding required to run the hospital.
In the last couple of months we are still attending many meetings but the message is the same, cancer services are secure & there is no extra money for the hospital. DACC disagree with both of these statements.
“We are told by the HSE that cancer services are secure” We don’t believe them! How can they be secure when the other services needed by cancer patients are being “stripped away”. Cancer patients need a range of services within the hospital, they are not a stand alone service. Cancer services can not be secure if other necessary services at the hospital do not have the staffing levels & funds necessary to deliver a quality service. DACC were supported by Prof. John Crown recently on Highland Radio.
“We are told by the HSE that Letterkenny Hospital is doing more work than it should be doing, it has a Level 3 service agreement”
We ask are you saying they are treating patients or providing health care that patients don’t need? Are patients pretending to be sick?
“We are told by the HSE that Letterkenny Hospital is overspent on it’s budget”
“We say there are serious budget & resource inequalities for Letterkenny Hospital, it gets less than other hospitals for treating more patients, thereby patients attending LGH are not worth as much as other hospitals! It has not been recognised for it’s achievements over the years with a limited budget.”
Letterkenny hasn’t had an even playing field as for years they got less money for the same & in cases doing more work.
Private income for Letterkenny General is less than 4.5 million
Private income for Sligo is approx 11 million
Drug budget at Letterkenny Hospital is approx 5 million
Drug budget for Sligo is approx 9 million
Approx 16 vacant consultant posts at Letterkenny General
No of key consultants that have left or leaving
Locums employed through agencies- not value for money
Approx 50% of budget overspend going on agency staff
Radiology –MRI only working 4 per days per week
Radiology- reduced number of key staff
Outdated equipment- no investment
Smallest number of surgeons in the country per population of 160,000,
The Breast Unit at LGH- approx 25% referral from patients in Sligo region – NO EXTRA MONEY FOR THIS
1Breast Surgeon – if anything was to happen the person what would happen the breast cancer service at LGH?
77 breast cancers this year to date diagnosed at LGH- probably more by the end of the year
Equivalent of 1.5 Breast Radiologist- staff shortage again
Colorectal/ Bowel Screening Programme –LGH was one of the sites identified to carry this out- no infrastructure investment
Waiting lists- the Special Delivery Unit established to deal with this – guess what have additional funding to deal with A& E & waiting lists- Letterkenny Hospital not on the list of hospitals to get money.
The new A & E- if it was opened in the morning we ask where is the money to run it and where will the staff come from?
Prostate cancer services- Letterkenny Hospital providing service for 20 years with over 100 cancers diagnosed each year- service pulled in March 2010
New Rapid Access Clinic- didn’t start last Friday 2nd Dec. Now put on hold!
CAWT funded 2nd Urologist for LGH- we are told this new post has been signed off on. This has not happened and looks like it might not.
Radiotheraphy at Altnagelvin- our concerns now appear to be coming through- where is LGH in the planning for Donegal patients? Will cancer services at LGH be weakened by this development? Is the initial 19 million from the Irish Government still available, there hasn’t been a mention of any of this in months.
Closure of community hospitals & beds will put more pressure on LGH as there will be no “step down” beds for patients.
Extra money available to recruit CEO & management support team to look after Galway Hospital & Limerick- no information available on how much or how many people will be employed through private tenders.
New system to be put in place to recognise those hospitals who achieve- LGH has not to date been recognised for its’achievements, it won’t be able to in the future as it is starting with years of budget inequalties.
Donegal Action for Cancer Care ask that people be clear they will take our general hospital from us if we let them. Are you prepared to let it happen?