Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has called on the Minister for Health to meet with medical, nursing, and healthcare professionals in Donegal to see and hear their concerns regarding Letterkenny University Hospital first-hand.
Teachta Cullinane made the remarks following a meeting on Thursday evening at Letterkenny University Hospital with local GPs, consultants, and management.
The TD for Waterford said that while it was welcome that the HSE CEO had agreed to send in a performance management improvement team, it was vital that Government-level action is taken to deliver decisive action on the very serious concerns identified by local clinicians.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“I visited Letterkenny Hospital to meet with community GPs, hospital workers, and local management. I came here to listen and to see their concerns first-hand. It was a positive and constructive meeting.
“I am calling on the Minister for Health to visit Donegal and do the same. There are serious patient safety risks at Letterkenny Hospital due to a lack of bed capacity, onerous out-of-hours rotas for overworked doctors, and severe deficits in staffing.
“According to the local medical professionals, there is a serious risk of unplanned collapse of services at Letterkenny if the necessary investment is not provided to avert catastrophe.
“Target treatment times for sepsis and other serious conditions are frequently missed, and the rate of unplanned cancellation of surgeries is highly concerning. The emergency department is quite simply overwhelmed, and this is having a serious knock-on effect for the ambulance service.
“The hospital is rapidly approaching a tipping point. The Minister for Health must ensure decisive action is taken on the serious concerns identified by local clinicians.
“The CEO of the HSE confirmed that he was sending a performance management team to the hospital when I raised Letterkenny Hospital with him at the health committee on Wednesday. This is welcome, but it must report rapidly. Many of the problems are already known and could be acted on.
“The findings of the team’s review must be implemented without delay. Resourcing should not be the issue, but we know that the HSE has been underfunded for 2024 which will make the hospital’s job a lot more difficult.”