Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has today called on the Minister for Health and the Government to clarify what funding has been promised to reopen the 20 bed Short Stay Ward at Letterkenny University Hospital.
Donegal Sinn Fein Senator Mac Lochlainn raised the matter with Minister Harris today, as overcrowding at the Emergency Department of Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH) escalates again. Forty six people were awaiting admission to the hospital this morning (Wednesday).
Senator MacLochlainn said he submitted questions to the Minister to find out the exact nature of the funding being provided to the management at LUH and confirmation that the full 20 bed Short Stay Ward will reopen as soon as possible.
“The people of Donegal need answers and they need them fast,” said Senator MacLochlainn.
He said: “In 2018, the highest number ever of patients on trolleys was recorded at the Emergency Department of LUH. Over 5,000 of our citizens in Donegal were forced on to a trolley or bed in a corridor or ward very much inappropriate to their care needs. Often after waiting long hours in distress at the Emergency Department.
“As well as that, the nurses, doctors and support staff working in the Department are forced to work in impossible conditions, day in, day out. They are being failed horrendously.
“This scandal is the direct result of Government policies and the failure to fund the necessary numbers of beds, nurses and doctors at LUH and community hospitals across Donegal, over recent years”.
“In early 2017, the management at LUH applied to the HSE for €1.8 million to reopen and fully staff the 20 bed Short Stay Ward at the hospital. This ward, if reopened, would seriously alleviate the pressure on the Emergency Department.”
Senator MacLochlainn recalled a radio interview in which Donegal Minister Joe McHugh stated that the Minister for Health had agreed to the funding and that management of the LUH had been advised to commence the recruitment process.
“Three months later and with the crisis ongoing, it is still unclear as to the extent of funding provided,” said the Senator.
“I have submitted questions to the Minister for Health today, seeking urgent clarification that a) the HSE and his Department have sanctioned the full €1.8 million of funding and b) to confirm that the full 20 bed Short Stay Ward will reopen as soon as possible,” Senator MacLochlainn concluded.