One hundred and two beds have been closed in hospitals throughout the county since 2007 according to a new report released by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Association (INMO). Sinn Féin Deputy Pearse Doherty believes that the situation will worsen if much needed monies are not pumped into the ailing health system.
It is understood that the beds have been closed as a result of health cuts that have been instigated in light of the current recession. Donegal hospital bed closures equates for 4 per cent of the national average where 2,402 have been closed in the last five years. Four beds closed for Alzheimer’s in Ard Aoibhinn, Carndonagh, 14 beds closed in Dungloe hospital and 12 beds closed in Letterkenny General Hospital.
The highest number of beds closed in Lifford with 20 beds for care of the elderly being closed in Lifford Hospital, an average of four beds being closed for each of the last five years. Ten beds closed in the Ramelton Nursing Unit. Twenty five beds closed in total in Ballyshannon with 14 closed in the Sheil and 11 closing in the Rock. St. Joseph’s hospital in Stranolar sustained the second highest number of closures with 17 beds being closed there.
Deputy Doherty said: “I have, on many occasions, discussed the issue of bed closures with senior officials from the health service and it has become evident to me that it is the ban on staff recruitment that is responsible for these bed closures. It wouldn’t be safe to keep these beds open if there was no staff there to ensure the safety of patients.”
He added that the bed closures could continue to take place in our community hospitals.