16 Jan 2022

Deputy calls for more beds to be opened at Letterkenny University Hospital

Deputy calls for more beds to be opened at Letterkenny University Hospital

Letterkenny University Hospital

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has said he has received confirmation from the Minister for Health that twenty three of the thirty-nine additional beds allocated to Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH) for 2020 to 2021 have still not been opened.

He has described the delays as "totally unacceptable" with over 1000 Donegal patients on trolleys at the hospital's Emergency Department last month.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:"This confirmation that I have received from the minister is totally unacceptable. Just sixteen out of thirty-nine 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."

Mr Mac Lochlainn said he had joined delegations of Sinn Féin TDs and Councillors in recent weeks in two separate meetings 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.We are again appealing to the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, to come to Donegal, 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," he said.  

He said that there are twenty-three beds 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," he said.

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