DONEGAL ACTION FOR CANCER CARE has asked donegaldaily.com to publish the following statement in full:
Donegal Action for Cancer Care meeting with Health Minister Dr James O’ Reilly,
on Thursday 27th July 2011 at Letterkenny General Hospital.
Aim of meeting:
To raise awareness to the Minister for Health of the excellent work & success’s at Letterkenny General Hospital with emphasis on it’s cancer services supported by the National Cancer Control Programme and how budget shortfalls will lead to these being destabilised and that LGH must be able to accept patients for Colonoscopy services in 2012. We wish to seek the Ministers support & commitment to continued investment into LGH to ensure health services at Letterkenny General Hospital &other services that will impact on cancer services for Donegal patients are protected & developed.
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 as a Regional Hospital
DACC first raised the issue of LGH becoming a Regional Hospital back in September 2009.
At that time we based that on two key areas now we have three:
1) Budget inequalities as per Inpatient Discharges, resource allocation & patient numbers
2) Scope for this to happen within the County Development Plan.
3) Recent census shows population increase by 9.3%
1) Budget inequalities for Donegal people attending LGH
(2011) IPD=€4907 at LGH, Sligo 3842 patients less, IDP=€ 6,254 (€1,347 more)
(2010) IDP=€5198 at LGH, Sligo 5081 patients less, IDP= € 7110 (€1,912 more)
(2009) IDP= €4961 at LGH, Sligo 4961 patients less, IDP =€ 6,645 (€1,684 more)
2) Developments at LGH
Within the National Development Plan regarding Letterkenny & Derry there is the following:
“Improvements to the stock of healthcare and social infrastructure such as regional hospital and specialist care services on a shared basis between Donegal and facilities in Northern Ireland.”
a) Why is LGH budget less than Sligo’s per Inpatient Discharges?
b) Why are these inequalities allowed to continue?
c) Why are patients availing of services at LGH lives worth less?
d) Why is LGH not being recognised for it’s level and high quality standard of service with the necessary resources?
3) Recent census shows population increase by 9.3%
Recent census highlights an increase of 13,633 resident’s which equals a population increase of 9.3%.
Letterkenny General Hospital
LGH should be rewarded & not be punished for “exceeding what was in their service level agreement” among other things.
a) What plans have the HSE in place to deal with the doctor shortage at LGH ?
b) How many services will be impacted on as a result of this?
c) How will the ongoing annual budget shortfall be addressed?
d) Where do you see the future of LGH with no money to carry out the work of a hospital?
e) Will LGH be downgraded?
CAWT Cross Border Funding
9 million for acute hospital services. As part of this LGH was to get a 2nd full time Urologist. This post was to be advertised last August and it didn’t happen because of the recruitment embargo. LGH cannot afford to loose one consultant or 2 junior doctors.
A full time Urologist Post will allow for TRUS Biopsies to be carried out at LGH. Among other things, it would have a major impact on patients who have to travel to Galway University Hospital who have their own problems.
a) Has this now been resolved?
b) Did LGH have to loose a consultant or two junior doctors in order to meet the restrictions under the RE?
c) When will the post be advertised?
Additional resources are required to match status of a satellite unit/ Centre of Excellence.
What plans are in place to address this deficit?
The New A& E
We are aware that there are delays in plans to finish the unit this year.
a) How will this unit be funded with a budget shortfall?
b) How will it be staffed with a recruitment embargo?
Proposed Radiotherapy at Altnagelvin
Paramount to DACC is that world class quality treatment & care for Donegal cancer patients is available as close to home as possible.
We have serious concerns regarding this development.
Among these concerns are
- How will continued budget shortfalls at LGH impact on this development at Altnagelvin Hospital?
- That LGH is in danger of being downgraded,
- That the patient pathways will not meet the needs of Donegal patients,
- That LGH ‘s relationship with Dublin Hospital’s & treatment centres & key consultants will be lost,
- That the agreed numbers of Donegal patients being financed needs to be reviewed,
- That this is a political decision and not a medical one.
a) Medical protocols:
What arrangements are in place for working relationships between:
- Letterkenny General Hospital & Altnagelvin,
- The HSE & NHS,
- All of the above with Breast Check?
b) How will the Multidisciplinary Team work?
c) How will Cross Border posts work?
How many Oncologists will be employed?
Will patients have their consultations at LGH or will everything be at Altnagelvin?
d) What structures are in place to ensure accountability?
e) What access will there be for Donegal patients?
What arrangement will there be for in patient beds?
What arrangements will be in place for accommodation/ lodge?
What arrangements will be in place for transport?
Theatre lists for Donegal patients at Galway
Galway University Hospital is having bother treating it’s own patients.
a) What will be done for Donegal patients attending LGH who are having difficulty getting their appointments, surgery or treatments in Galway at present?
The new Special Delivery Unit
LGH & Donegal patients were not equal & discriminated against under the NTPF.
From 2006 – 2011, 5801 Donegal patients were treated under the NTPF at a cost of 13million, 823 thousand and 690 euro at private hospitals. Having this allocation within LGH’s budget would allow the hospital to treat more of it’s own patients.
a) How will this new unit work?
b) Will this again be more money for private hospitals or will the money be paid to local hospitals so they can treat their own patients?
c) Will this unit address difficulties for Donegal patients?
We are delighted and proud to have worked hard to bring BreastCheck to Donegal.
We would want nothing less that this high quality service for our women.
We have concern that Breast Check did not take into consideration the already recognised unique geographical circumstances prevailing in Donegal, which should have resulted in Breast Check assessments being made to Letterkenny General Hospital rather than to Breast Check in Galway. Women may have to travel up to 5 hours each way on a number of different occasions.
a) We are asking that the BreastCheck team come to LGH for women’s assessments.
The North West Breast Unit is available on Friday’s the day that Donegal assessments happen in Galway.
The NOWDOC service in Donegal has secured a Quality Assurance award from the Royal College of General Practitioners in Northern Ireland in Feb. this year.
The award praised the additional care taken to ensure that patients with access issues, sensory problems and disabilities are well cared for.
It also says the GPs on call were very professional, engaged well with patients and were dedicated to the services which NOWDOC offers.
The accreditation system was then adapted for use in the Republic, taking a total of two years in preparation and assessment.
A gap exists in this service in the morning with patients unable to access a GP.
Most surgeries don’t open till 9.9.30am. NOW DOC stops at 8am
1) We are asking that the HSE now either extend the hours of the NOWDOC Service or fund GP’s to open earlier.
2) Is Letterkenny NOWDOC service earmarked for closure?
Request to be included in “Your Health is Your Wealth”Policy Framework for a Healthier Ireland 2012-2020
We requested on 13th June to you Minister O’ Reilly for inclusion in the consultation & asked for the following information please. We got nothing back so are again making that request.
- Can you please forward us dates & venues for the four Regional information & consultation days to be hosted in June?
- Dates and where invites for written submissions will be made? (July- September)
- Dates & venues where facilitated workshops with community & voluntary organisations will be? (June – September)