That’s the message from Donegal Action for Cancer Care who are calling on the people of Donegal to be very clear that key services are under major threat at Letterkenny General Hospital and Donegal’s community hospitals.
DACC are asking are you prepared to let this happen? When the services are removed they will not be back at our hospital.
Heath is something that affects everyone from the time you are in the womb till the day you die. It affects everything else we do in our lives.
DACC are being told that cancer services at LGH are secure but we ask how can they be secure when other key services are being removed or under threat of removal?
DACC ask the people of Donegal “What more can we do to save our services”
There is no equality, no fairness, very limited health services if any for Donegal people!
Cancer services are not stand alone services! What is to be done to save cancer services &
Letterkenny General Hospital for the people of Donegal?
What will become of Donegal’s sick people?
We continue to work hard in a voluntary capacity, we have been doing so since April 2005 but are afraid our worst fears have come true.
Letterkenny General Hospital is having services taken from it which will affect everyone, for us we cannot let this happen to our cancer patients. Health services affect everyone, young & old and all stages of life! We all have a responsibilty to protect them!
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 been severely cut and they do not get the funding required to run the hospital.
Last year we attended many meetings but the message is the same, “cancer services are secure & there is no extra money for the hospital.”
With all key services removed or on “HOLD” LGH will not be able to treat the sick people of Donegal.
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 diagnosed there per year.
Letterkenny General Hospital delivered Prostate Cancer Services for Donegal men for 20 years until March 2010 when the service was removed as part of National Plans!!! Indeed LGH was a leader in Ireland with the service. Now Donegal men must travel to Galway Hospital for the New Rapid Access Clinic, they must find their own way there!
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 recently by Prof. John Crown recently on Highland Radio regarding this.
“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 are told by the HSE that Letterkenny Hospital is overspent on it’s budget”
We were asked at a meeting with HSE West Regional Director of Operations on 31st January 2012“if we wanted to scare patients & sick people”
“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 & success over the years with a limited budget.”
Letterkenny General Hospital hasn’t had an even playing field for years, they got less money for the same & in some cases more work.
Some points to take note off please!
Letterkenny treats as many patients and in cases more than most Regional Hospitals,
(2011) In Patient Discharges =€4907 at LGH, Sligo 3842 patients less, In Patient Discharges =€ 6,254 (€1,347 more for Sligo )
(2010) In Patient Discharges =€5198 at LGH, Sligo 5081 patients less, In Patient Discharges = € 7110 (€1,912 more for Sligo)
(2009) In Patient Discharges = €4961 at LGH, Sligo 4961 patients less, In Patient Discharges =€ 6,645 (€1,684 more Sligo)
Private income for Letterkenny General is less than 4.5 million
Private income for Sligo Regional Hospital is approx 11 million
Drug budget at Letterkenny Hospital is approx 5 million
Drug budget for Sligo as a Regional Hospital is approx 9 million
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 a regional hospital”
a) Why are these inequalities allowed to continue?
b) Why are patients availing of services at LGH lives worth less?
c) Why is LGH not being recognised for it’s level and high quality standard of service with the necessary resources?
d) Recent census highlights an increase of 13,633 resident’s which equals a population increase of 9.3%.
**Minister James O’ Reilly told DACC last year that LGH cannot become a Regional Hospital yet due to private insurance rises! Again LGH not a priority!
No of key consultants have left or leaving as they cannot work due to cuts- the work they were employed to do!
Locums employed through agencies- not value for money
Approx 50% of budget overspend going on agency staff.
Cardiac Pacemaker service now on HOLD at LGH!!
Radiology- reduced number of key staff
Outdated equipment in xray dept- 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 TO LGH FOR THIS!
1Breast Surgeon – if anything was to happen, what would happen the breast cancer service at LGH?
77 breast cancers by Nov 2011 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- how can this service now be delivered?
Waiting lists- the Special Delivery Unit established to deal with this – additional funding made available to deal with A& E & waiting lists- Letterkenny Hospital not on the list of hospitals to get additional funding from this.
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 first hospital in country delivering prostate services providing service for 20 years with over 100 cancers diagnosed each year- service pulled in March 2010- men now must travel to Galway!
New Rapid Access Clinic at LGH- didn’t start Friday 2nd Dec. Now put on hold!- IT IS NOT PART OF THE NATIONAL PLAN!!! We ask will it happen?
CAWT (Cross Border Funding) funded 2nd Urologist for LGH- we are told this new post has been signed off on in Sept 2011. 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 for Altnagelvin still available?
Closure of community hospitals & beds in Donegal will put more pressure on LGH as there will be no “step down” beds for patients at LGH or in the community hospitals.
The new Special Delivery Unit
LGH & Donegal patients were not equal & discriminated against under the National Treatment Purchase Fund.
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.
Extra money was made available to recruit CEO & management support team to look after Galway Hospital & Limerick- no information available on how much or how many people will they 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 another year with years of budget inequalities.
DACC 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 type 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, how many services will be cut or will we have none at all”. DACC have kept the pressure on for almost 7 years now, have travelled up & down the country, kept cancer services and issues on the agenda but now feel that we 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 ask please that you put you & your family’s health high on your list of concerns at present before the services are taken from us.