Union lines up urgent meetings as Letterkenny Hospital faces “unprecedented pressure”

IMPACT trade union representatives have lined up a series of briefings with health bosses next week over the future of health service provision in the North-West, amidst warnings that Letterkenny General Hospital is facing into “unprecedented pressure and curtailment of services”.

IMPACT trade union representatives have lined up a series of briefings with health bosses next week over the future of health service provision in the North-West, amidst warnings that Letterkenny General Hospital is facing into “unprecedented pressure and curtailment of services”.

Claiming it was likely that budgets would be cut on average between 4 to 5 per cent, local spokesperson, Richy Carrothers said yesterday: “The H.S.E. needs to be clear with us as to what local services will be prioritised.

“This can be dealt with but it needs to be done through a controlled and managed approach.”

Meetings early next week will go some way to confirming this approach with the IMPACT official insisting it was vital that the H.S.E. engaged in a policy of shared information.

Budget cuts would, he maintained, increase dramatically in the acute hospitals, particularly at Letterkenny General Hospital, due to what he called the “so-called 8 million euro overspend” in 2011. “It is likely that Letterkenny General will face unprecedented pressure and curtailment of services,” Mr. Carrothers declared.

Describing the uncertainty on the future of health service provision in the North-West as “worrying”, he revealed that IMPACT had written to health bosses seeking urgent meetings to discuss the issues.

“The HSE National Service Plan for 2012 was published on the 16th January and, yet, here we are two weeks later and it remains unclear how that will be implemented across Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal. Neither the staff or service users can be sure what will be delivered, however. For certain, services are facing massive cuts,” Mr. Carrothers warned.

“IMPACT is trying to bring a sense of certainty for health staff and the general public. What we don’t want is drip-fed information - we need to know now what is coming down the track,” he told the ‘Democrat’.