It has been revealed that 23 of the 39 additional beds allocated to Letterkenny University Hospital for 2020 to 2021 have still not been opened.
Fifty-four patients are today waiting on admission in Letterkenny’s Emergency Department. This is the second highest trolley figure in the state again, after University Hospital Limerick.
The further delay in the beds crisis was confirmed to Donegal Sinn Féin TD, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn from the Minister for Health this week.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn described the delays as “totally unacceptable” with over 1,000 Donegal patients on trolleys at the hospital’s Emergency Department last month.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn said: “Just 16 out of 39 beds allocated to Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH) for last year and this year have been opened.
“Last month, over 1,000 Donegal patients were on trolleys at LUH’s Emergency Department instead of being in beds in the appropriate hospital wards. Day in, day out, we are hearing from the affected patients and families and from our front line health care workers at the hospital about the nightmare conditions there.
“What is being experienced at Letterkenny University Hospital is not the standard across the State. Most hospitals across the State do not have anywhere near the numbers of patients on trolleys and overcrowding as we have. What is being experienced here in Donegal is due to downright neglect and funding discrimination over years by government after government.
I have joined delegations of Sinn Féin TDs and Councillors over recent weeks in two separate meeting with the management of Letterkenny University Hospital and of the Saolta Hospital Group. We are clear that this is about the neglect of Donegal and the West of Ireland and this has to stop.”
Sinn Féin are appealing to the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly to come to Donegal and meet the hospital campaign groups, meet the front line hospital workers, and meet the Letterkenny Hospital management “to hear first hand about the beds crisis at the hospital, the staff numbers crisis and the crisis in the cancellation of operations, procedures and appointments at the hospital. ”
Deputy Mac Lochlainn added: “There are 23 beds that have been allocated to the hospital last year that are still not operational. How can this be justified? The Minister needs to insist that his Department and the HSE urgently intervene and assist LUH management with the recruitment of the necessary additional nurses and doctors.
“And if the management requests support for temporary modular units at the Hospital, the Minister needs to get this sorted too”.