19,108 people awaiting inpatient or outpatient treatment at Letterkenny University Hospital at the end of June
Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, confronted the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar who claimed no HSE embargo existed and that more nurses than ever have been recruited by Fine Gael.
Countering the Taoiseach’s argument, Deputy Pringle accused the Taoiseach of misleading the House saying “call a spade a spade and admit that there is indeed a recruitment embargo leading to significant delays in people accessing healthcare in Donegal”.
“In Donegal alone, over 100 posts lay vacant which have been given approval by the National Recruitment Service and I am waiting on statistics from Saolta Hospital Group that will likely paint a similar picture. It has taken the HSE over a month to reply to my query so it must be the case that the news is not good on that front.
“At Letterkenny University Hospital there were 19,108 people awaiting inpatient or outpatient treatment at the end of June, up 1,906 on June 2018. That’s an increase of 11%, slightly above the national average. Almost 2,000 more people are waiting for an outpatient appointment while a total of 1783 women are waiting to for a gynaecologist at LUH.
“The Taoiseach also knows that the recruitment embargo has prevented management at Letterkenny University Hospital from recruiting the nurses, doctors and support staff required to fully reopen the hospital’s short stay ward. Elective surgeries and procedures across Letterkenny University Hospital are being impacted which in turn, is adding to the already lengthy waiting lists.
He added that most striking were figures release that day on the numbers of those waiting on trollies, 47 of them are waiting in LUH, the third highest in the country.
“It’s obvious that the embargo is contributing to longer waiting lists, worsening trolley crisis, and worst of all worsening of conditions of people seeking treatment as they continue to languish on waiting lists. Interim control measures would not have this effect. Yet the Taoiseach denies there is an embargo, arguing over the meaning of words instead of addressing my concerns with the Government’s health policy.
“The irony of putting in place an embargo as it goes on beyond the Government’s original three month timeline, is that it is no longer a so-called interim measure now that it is a semi-permanent feature. And will only cost the HSE more as people get sicker waiting to be seen and the Government pays millions to agency staff to plug the gaps."
He added: “The longer this goes on the bigger the health crisis will get. The Government must put an end to the embargo, begin filling the 100 plus vacant posts in Donegal and 1,000 across the country immediately so people can get access to health as and when they need it,” said Deputy Pringle.
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