Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher Leas Cheann Comhairle has said it is ‘nothing short of reckless’ that the government has not approved additional bed capacity and staffing at Letterkenny University Hospital.
The Donegal TD called on the Government to take action on a proposal submitted to Saolta for funding to re-open the short stay ward and increase bed capacity from 330 to 350.
The €1.8m funding bid also called for an extra 14 staff nurses, additional care assistants and CNM posts plus ancillary staff.
Fianna Fail TD Pat the Cope said the HSE’s reply “clearly identifies that Saolta and the Government have failed to act and sanction the additional bed capacity for the Hospital.”
He said: “the additional 20 beds and appropriate additional staffing levels would go a long way in dealing with the current capacity issues which we witness almost on a daily basis in Letterkenny.
“Shockingly, we have witnessed time and time again full capacity protocols exercised in the hospital all year round, now as we face into the critical winter period it is most concerning as it is clear the hospital cannot cope with the levels of service demands placed on it with the current existing capacity within the hospital.
“The hospital are awaiting approval for the additional capacity since October but no final approval has yet been given by the Minister and the Government.
“Meantime, the Government espouse their winter strategy but it does not seem to apply to Donegal as they continue to ignore the ongoing difficulties within Letterkenny University Hospital.
“The staff within the Hospital are doing their utmost and level best to provide full and complete services to the patients but, without additional capacity demands can never be met as extra beds and staff are urgently needed before the winter fully sets in.
!It is nothing short of reckless that the Government have not approved the additional capacity and staffing for Letterkenny.”
Pat the Cope added, “I have previously asked the Government to conduct a full and complete review of services, staffing levels and capacity within the hospital, the current proposal before the Government is for an additional 20 bed capacity, an extra 14 staff nurses, additional care assistants and CNM posts plus ancillary staff.
“Had the Minister for Health heeded that request we could have avoided the difficulties experienced by the hospital and the many patients over the past year.
“I am demanding the Government take immediate action in relation to Letterkenny, enough procrastination and time wasting has been allowed to occur under this Government’s watch, approval needs to be given for the hospital to expand bed capacity and staffing levels in order to counteract the ongoing crises at the hospital.”