A DONEGAL Deputy has slammed as an absolute scandal’ the underinvestment in Letterkenny University Hospital.
In the Dáil, Sinn Féin Deputy Padraig Mac Lochlainn hit out at ‘the neglect’ of LUH – something he says has left the hospital vulnerable during the Covid-19 crisis.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn said that LUH was the sixth largest hospital in the State and had over 24,000 inpatients last year.
“If you look at the top 15 hospitals in terms of budget, Letterkenny comes 13th,” Deputy Mac Lochlainn said.
“If you look at the top 15 hospitals in terms of budget allocated per inpatient, Letterkenny is again 13th in the State.
“If you look at the top 15 hospitals in terms of the number of consultants, Letterkenny is 14th. The top 15 based on nurses and midwives; 12th in the State.
“It is clear that we have been neglected and discriminated against. It goes further than that, If you look at waiting lists, the most recently available we now have 21,789 people on the waiting list, inpatient and outpatient.
“The population of Donegal is 160,000 – that means that one in eight of our people are on a hospital waiting list. 5,000 of those men, women and children have been waiting longer than 18 months for their appointments. It is an absolute scandal.”
Deputy Mac Lochlainn pointed out that over 19,000 people were on a waiting list before the Covid-19 pandemic took hold.
Then, he said, there were an average of 19 people a day on a trolly at LUH.
He said: “That is the reality of the neglect of my county’s major acute hospital. That is why the budget is such a profound disappointment.
“The utter failure of Governments over the last ten years to adequately invest in our health service. That utter failure has led us to be uniquely exposed to this pandemic in Ireland in terms of the number of ICU beds – which is the lowest in the EU per head – and the under-investment in beds.”