Staffing problems at Donegal’s only Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU) are set to be resolved soon after issues were brought to light in a recent HSE report.
The 2017 report found that services at the treatment unit in Letterkenny were at risk due to a staffing shortage and a permanent unit was needed.
Seventy three people attended the Letterkenny unit in 2017. This number is up from 8%.
The Letterkenny unit is staffed by two Clinical Nurse Specialists – Connie Mc Gilloway and Bridin Bell. The SATU unit formally became a 24-hour-service in 2017. Twelve (16%) patients presented between 8pm and 8am following this change.
Dr Maeve Eogan, who compiled the National SATU Key Service Activity Report 2017, said that the incredible commitment and hard work of the staff was ‘untenable’ in the long-term without a third CNS as demand increases.
Dr Eogan raised concerns in relation to ‘strategic planning, vision and ensuring a sustainable service for the people of the northwest’ without approval of the position by Saolta.
Dr Eogan also highlighted the need for a new permanent SATU clinic. “In 2010 the Donegal SATU moved its operation from the Letterkenny University Hospital Campus to the NoWDOC premises on a temporary basis; however, the service continues to operate from this facility awaiting approval, relocation and the confirmed identification of a new Unit.”
In light of the report findings, Saolta University Health Care Group-LUH has given approval for the appointment of a third Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS).
A statement said: “After an interview process a suitable candidate has been identified and funding has been approved for this nurse to undertake specialist training in the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) course, commencing in September. On completion of the course this person will take up their appointment in the Donegal SATU.
“Approval has also been given for new accommodation for the unit and these premises are currently undergoing refurbishment.”
Rape survivor Dominique Meehan was commended in the 2017 report for her outspoken efforts in raising awareness of SATU. Dr Eogan described the young Letterkenny woman’s testimony on her SATU experience in Mullingar as a “compelling testimony”. “We commend her ongoing strength,” said Dr Eogan.Tags: