Sinn Féin TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has said that the Minister for Health must show ‘real leadership’ and take the lead in tackling the crisis at Letterkenny University Hospital.
According to INMO figures, LUH is the second most overcrowded hospital today.
Deputy MacLochlainn called for a series of measures which, he said, would marshal all available healthcare resources across the entire system to alleviate pressure on acute hospitals and improve management of emergency care.
He said that this means the Health Minister must convene daily meetings with HSE leadership and regularly engage with regional management to ensure all public and private healthcare resources are being used to the best effect.
“I am very concerned by the pressure that Letterkenny University Hospital is under,” Deputy MacLochlainn said.
“Staff at the hospital are doing their absolute best but are struggling to cope. As a result, far too many people in Donegal are not receiving the timely care they need.”
There is clearly an emergency care crisis in acute hospitals, he added, and people in Donegal are rightly concerned by the slowness of the government’s response.
“Best practice from other hospitals and areas should be followed where appropriate including prioritising emergency and urgent care, redeploying staff from elective care to emergency departments, and using hospital capacity normally reserved for day-case and elective care to provide surge capacity.
“The level of overcrowding is due to Government failure to sufficiently invest in healthcare capacity and staffing over the last decade.”
This crisis was ‘not only predictable but inevitable.’
“Hospitals should operate at 80-85% capacity outside of winter to ensure we have capacity for surges, yet we had a summer trolley crisis this year. Most hospitals have been operating at near or above 100% capacity year-round.”