Deputy Pearse Doherty has called on the Minister for Health and the HSE to urgently step up efforts to recruit a number of vacancies at Letterkenny Hospital’s Radiology Department.
The Donegal Deputy was reacting to confirmation received from Management at the hospital that the department currently only has 5.1 whole-time Equivalent Posts filled on a permanent basis, despite the sanctioning of 7 full-time Consultant Radiologists to staff the unit.
Deputy Doherty said he is extremely concerned to learn, following confirmation which he received from management that the Radiology Department at Letterkenny University hospital continues to go understaffed.
“Over recent weeks, I’ve been approached by a number of constituents who’ve each expressed their frustration at having experienced delays in having scans and other appointments carried out at the unit due to ongoing staffing issues.
“The hospital has now clarified these reports and has confirmed that, while approval for 7 WTE Consultant Radiologist posts has been granted to LUH, there are 1.9 full-time posts which continue to go unfilled on a permanent basis.
“While hospital management claims that efforts are being made to recruit candidates to these roles on either a locum or permanent basis, clearly there are serious questions over the approach being adopted to fill these roles.
“It’s claimed that currently two General Radiologists positions at the hospital are awaiting advertisement by the HSE’s recruitment service, while another such post which had been advertised last year, is still awaiting to interview candidates.
“Similarly, efforts throughout 2017 to recruit a Breast Radiologist at LUH have so far failed, with the Public Appointment Service declaring that a recruitment campaign for the post failed to attract any applications.
“While the length of time it is taking to recruit staff is a major cause for concern, clearly the approach being adopted by the HSE to fill vacancies and attract talent is simply not working.
“It has been repeatedly pointed out to Government that a complete rethink is needed if our health service is to retain and recruit the necessary staff and these figures further support this message.
“Sinn Féin has continually called for a concerted campaign to keep nurses, doctors and other health care professionals in the system and to convince others to return however, this can only be achieved through a sustained drive to improve working conditions.
“The sufficient resources however are not being provided to our hospitals to allow staff to actually practice medicine and provide healthcare, rather than simply firefight and pen push.”