The Breast Service Unit is to continue at Letterkenny General Hospital meaning women will no longer have to travel to Galway for treatment.
The news was relayed by Minister of State Joe McHugh TD who met with both Management and Consultants at the hospital on Friday last.
Deputy McHugh said it was brought to his attention that the hospital would not be in a position to provide a consultancy service to patients who had been referred by their GP for specific breast services.
“During the three hour meeting at the hospital, I was informed that the current number of routine patients awaiting an appointment at Letterkenny Hospital, which was in direct breach of the HSE’s 12 week target, was estimated at 600. The suggested proposal was to write to each person, requesting that they travel to Galway to avail of consultant services at Galway Hospital.
“Following that meeting, I contacted the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, to highlight what I had been informed of and to discuss what steps were needed to be taken in order to prevent this action from going ahead. The Minister, his staff and his officials at the Department took immediate action and a conference call took place between the relevant HSE officials and the Saolta Group on Monday, 19 January 2015
“I can confirm that during that conference call, a number of decisions were taken –
– Short Term: a further review of the situation would take place immediately; that an immediate appointment of a locum consultant breast surgeon would be made; and additional clinics would be arranged at Letterkenny Hospital to support the review of patients.
– Medium Term: Consideration will be given to the placement of GP support to the Consultant at the Letterkenny Unit; the recruitment of an Advanced Nurse Practitioner to help support the Unit; to review the delivery of an integrated Breast Services across the Group.
Deputy McHugh added that he now understands that a detailed plan will be drafted to deal with the backlog currently in place, within this coming week.
The Group will then be in a position to give a specific timeframe for full compliance of the 12 week target.
“I will continue to engage with both my colleague, Minister Varadkar, and his office to ensure that the essential services at Letterkenny Hospital not only continue, but that the challenges currently faced by the Unit at the hospital are addressed and a system introduced to ensure that such a backlog will not occur in the future.”