Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has described the revelations from Consultant Geriatrician at Letterkenny University Hospital, Ken Mulpeter, that the delivery of a vital Acute Stroke Unit has been held back as “shamfeful.”
Dr Mulpeter estimates that this unit could prevent as many as 16 deaths or severe disabilities every year in Donegal based on the 170 stoke cases that the hospital manages.
Seanyor MacLochlainn is laying the blame squarely at the door of the gOvernment on the issue.
He said this is because of the government and HSE’s recruitment embargo and is “another shameful example of the failure of the HSE and the Minister of Health when it comes to equality of health care for the people of Donegal.”
The Sinn Féin Senator and election candidate said “It was clear that he (Dr Mulpeter) had lost patience with the long delays and blockages and he felt that he had no choice but to speak out and make the people of Donegal aware of what was happening.
“This is another shameful example of the failure of the HSE and the Minister of Health when it comes to equality of health care for the people of Donegal
“Basically the government and HSE’s recruitment embargo, in place for the last 7 months, has blocked this vital Acute Stroke Unit being delivered. They have the facilities available. They just need the staff.
“I have repeatedly appealed to the Minister for Health to intervene and end this recruitment embargo, to no avail. This embargo is also the reason why all 19 beds have not been reopened at the hospital’s Short Stay Ward.”
He added that Pearse Doherty and himself published a report a few years back that revealed that Letterkenny University Hospital is the sixth largest hospital in the entire State with well over 20,000 inpatients every year.
Of the ten largest hospitals, Letterkenny had the lowest budget allocated to it, with some Dublin hospitals receiving three to four times more funding.
He went on “This means that we do not have equality of health care for the people of Donegal. This means that we don’t have enough hospital beds, nurses or doctors and we don’t have vital services like an Acute Stroke Unit or a Diabetes Centre of Excellence that we should have based on the numbers of diabetes patients in Donegal. And the list goes on and on”.
“Unfortunately it is clearly going to take a change of government to change this now. One that will invest in our public health services and deliver equality of health care to Donegal and across the State”.