Deputy Pearse Doherty has called on both the HSE and the Minister for Health to clarify the extent of respite appointment cancellations and service disruption across the Donegal community hospital network following a decision having been made to suspend services due to on-going service pressures.
Deputy Doherty, who will this week raise the suspension of the service with Minister for Health Simon Harris in the Dáil, says serious questions now need to be answered, including when it is expected that respite care will resume at the hospitals affected.
Deputy Doherty said “In recent weeks I have been contacted by a number of constituents, all raising similar concerns over the cancellation of respite appointments for loved ones, whom had been due to be admitted to their local community hospital in order to access the service.
“However, they each report that a few days prior to admission, they were contacted by hospital authorities to inform them that all appointments had been cancelled due to service pressures stemming from heightened demand for step-down services from patients leaving Letterkenny University Hospital.”
He said that understandably, the cancellation of respite care is having a huge impact on patients and their families, particularly for primary carers who are increasingly reporting feeling being at risk of ‘burn out’ due to them being unable to take a short rest from the demands of caring full-time.
“Despite having written to HSE Management a week ago now to enquire about what alternative arrangements shall be put in place for patients, as well as to question when it’s expected that normal services will resume, I have yet to receive a reply.
“While I continue to seek answers from Management, I will also this week table a Parliamentary Question to the Minister for Health in the Dáil where I will be demanding answers to those very questions.
“Clearly, the cancellation of respite care services throughout the community hospital network is yet another consequence of the mounting pressures which continue to be piled onto our health services which remain at breaking point.
“Patients, their families and carers deserve to have access to a safe and reliable service whereby patients may have their care needs met in an institutional setting, while carers and loved ones can avail of a reprieve and a rest from the strain of caring for them full-time.
“I intend to stress upon the Minister and the HSE that the failure to provide respite supports to service users is simply not good enough, and that everything must be done to reinstate this service as soon as possible.”Tags: