The chairman of Donegal County Council has slammed Health Minister Leo Varadkar’s assertion that Letterkenny General Hospital is over budget.
Cllr Ciaran Brogan said he was hugely disappointed that the “only contribution” the Minister made during his recent visit was that Letterkenny General Hospital was 10% over budget.
He asked what kind of response is that when the reality of the situation is that we do not have the adequate resources to run the hospital as it stands?
“There are still huge concerns in respect of the waiting lists which don’t appear to be easing. People are suffering badly, they’re in great pain but still we have the Minister telling us that we are not doing enough to curb our budget difficulties. Does it matter at all to Leo Varadkar and his Department that there are people going through horrendous pain while waiting for the necessary treatment?
“I am very concerned at the lack of services we have at Letterkenny Hospital and the fact that so many patients here in Donegal are forced to go as far as Galway and Roscommon, Dublin and Castlebar, and Sligo and Manorhamilton to receive treatment. We have a county that is huge in geographical terms with over 161,000 of a population but because we don’t have the required resources, those who are ill must travel far beyond its borders to be seen.”
Cllr Brgan said the staff at the coalface in Letterkenny Hospital are doing monumental work under very trying circumstances to deliver the services that we have but they need additional staff to help them and that must be recognised.
“We are the poorer relation when it comes to the health services and I am fearful that Letterkenny is going to end up being something of an overcrowded waiting room for other General Hospitals.
“Over the past few years we have lost some very good consultants who have not been replaced and this despite the fact that there is a huge demand for their services here. We are too dependent on Galway University Hospital as it is and that in turn it surely adding to the pressure that already exists there.
“Patients here in Donegal who have prostate cancer or those who require hip replacements are given absolutely no consideration or sympathy. They are just being made to travel a couple of hundred miles down the road with no regard for their health or wealth.”
He added that it’s all well and good for Leo Varadkar to come to Letterkenny to perform the official opening of the new catering unit and dining facilities and the new pulmonary laboratory welcome as those facilities are at our hospital.
But the sting in the tail arrives when he suggests that Letterkenny General Hospital is 10% over budget even if he did concede that there has been an increase in demand and activity at the hospital, he added.
“The Minister tells us that he would like to use some of the supplementary estimate in the Dail to provide additional services for Letterkenny. But this is clearly not been happening and as a member of the Regional Health Forum, I’d be very concerned that it won’t be happening.”