Sinn Féin Deputies Pádraig Mac Lochlainn and Pearse Doherty, along with HSE West/ North West Health Forum member Cllr. Gerry McMonagle, are to meet with Saolta Group Management to discuss the on-going issues at Letterkenny General Hospital – including the hospital’s ongoing overcrowding crisis.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s meeting, Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said that along with recent overcrowding problems, the long term future of the hospital’s Cancer Services is also on the agenda of today’s meeting.
“My Sinn Féin party colleagues and I have called today’s meeting with Management from the Saolta Group as we feel that it is vital that the unresolved issues facing the facility are appropriately addressed.
“Among the issues we hope to discuss with Management are the disturbing incidents of overcrowding at the Unit’s Accident and Emergency Department, as well as the future plans for Breast Cancer Services at LGH which, as yet, remain uncertain.”
“The overcrowding crisis – something which has been on-going for a number of weeks now – is largely down to inadequate resources and dangerously low staffing levels.”
Over 20,000 inpatients pass through Letterkenny General Hospital each year and based on these figures, this places the hospital as the seventh largest in the State and yet it has still not been given regional hospital status, added Deputy Mac Lochlainn.
“What’s worse is that based on these inpatient numbers, LGH not only has the lowest budget allocation of any hospital in the state, it also has the lowest allocation of medical staff – this simply is not good enough and is an insult to the people of Donegal.”
He continued that there are also serious concerns around the long term plans for Letterkenny’s breast cancer care unit.
“With the impending delivery of a Radiotherapy Unit at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry to provide for cancer patients in Donegal, Derry and the North West, the three stages of cancer care – diagnostics, surgical and radiotherapy – will be provided for locally.
“Our goal has been to bring to an end the days of cancer patients in Donegal having to travel long distances for treatment. The people of this County have fought tooth and nail over the years to have these services provided for here in the North West, and any suggestion that cancer services be relocated to Galway is quite simply unacceptable and must be opposed.”
“At the meeting, I along with Deputy Doherty and Cllr McMonagle will be seeking solutions and assurances from Saolta Group Management in relation to these issues facing LGH at present.
“Naturally, in spite of the many problems which currently exist there, Letterkenny General is an institution here in the North West. It is more than just a building: it is where many of us have spent our first hours and it is likely that it is where many of us may spend our final hours.”
“Despite the fact that it has played host to both some of the happiest and indeed some of the saddest moments in our lives, we in Donegal remain very proud of it which is why we must ensure that the hospital is adequately resourced and staffed, and that all services are maintained and further strengthened both now and into the future.”