The Donegal Action for Cancer Care group met with Donegal Oireacthtas Members to once again highlight their ongoing concerns for the future of Letterkenny General Hospital and to ask them to starting “shouting for LGH” in Dail Eireann and to the Minister for Health.
Campaigner Bett Holmes said it is vital that our elected representatives are very clear regarding the situation at LGH.
With the hospital at the centre of a financial crisis, having budget shortfalls and no money to run the hospital, Mrs Holmes insisted: “The DACC feel strongly that without a very clear and loud message going to the Government, LGH will be downgraded.
“If the hospital does not have the money it needs to run the hospital and provide the services a hospital should be able to do, then it does not have security. Money reflects security. If you can’t provide services and meet quality standards because you haven’t the money, then the hospital is being downgraded.”
She said Donegal patients have never been a priority at National level, insisting: ” Why should we now believe that in these economic times that our hospital will be on any priority list.
“The General Manger & staff at the hospital are doing their very best in what is an intolerable situation.
“Unless we the people of Donegal send out a very clear and loud message to Government that we not accept this we will find ourselves among “the small hospitals” that the Minister for Health talks about closing.
“We will in effect in the coming years be no more than a community hospital. If you keep “chipping” away at the budget & services then in a short time, maybe only a couple of years then you aren’t what you were, in this case, a general hospital.”
She said Letterkenny Hospital has in been among the top performing hospital in recent times, they have over the years been proactive in the services they provide and this has never been reflected in the budget they receive.
The campaigner went on:”While DACC acknowledge in the present economic climate that some cutbacks and a review of how we do things is necessary, the experience has always been that services outside of the big hospitals in the cities, like LGH are the ones that get identified for reform & cutbacks.
“We cannot let LGH and Donegal patients be the ones to suffer the impact again.”
Among the concerns raised on an ongoing basis by DACC and with Donegal Oireachtas Members are:
• budget inequalities for LGH, the future of the hospital including the impact on services, staffing
problems, the delay
• in the recruitment of a full times Urologist that should have been advertised last August,
• the new A& E unit not just the building but where will the money & staff come from to run it,
• questions regarding patient pathways etc for the new Radiotherapy Unit at Altnagelvin,
• difficulties with theatre lists for Donegal patients at Galway University Hospital,
• the new Special Delivery Unit & fears that this will again be money for private hospitals and the
gap in the morning with the NOWDOC service.
DACC are asking the people of Donegal to make sure they contact their elected representatives and ministers to ensure that LGH is protected.
Mrs Holmes said the DACC would like to thank Deputy Joe McHugh, Senator Jimmy Harte, Deputy Padraig McLochalinn, Deputy Charlie McConnalogue & Deputy Pearse Doherty for their time, support & commitment to raise all the issues.
She said apologies were received and support pledged from Deputy Thomas Pringle & Junior Minister Dinny McGinley and Senator Brian O Domhnaill.