Lifford Hospital decision deferred to September

Donegal Fianna Fáil Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill has said there is fresh hope for the future of Lifford Hospital after the HSE deferred a decision on its closure, in order to explore the possibility of a deal with the health authorities across the border.

Donegal Fianna Fáil Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill has said there is fresh hope for the future of Lifford Hospital after the HSE deferred a decision on its closure, in order to explore the possibility of a deal with the health authorities across the border.

Senator Ó Domhnaill has received confirmation from Donegal HSE Manager John Hayes that a consultation on the future of Lifford Hospital, which was due to begin this month, will be now deferred until at least September.

“This provides fresh hopes to patients in Donegal,” said Senator Ó Domhnaill. “The HSE West earmarked Lifford Hospital for closure in its service plan for 2012, despite a promise from the Health Minister James Reilly that the facility would not be closed under any circumstances. The closure of Lifford Hospital was part of a mission by Minister Reilly to shut down 898 community hospital beds this year.

“It is a relief that local HSE management have responded to the very real concerns of the public in relation to Lifford Hospital. Local area manager John Hayes has confirmed that a decision on the future of Lifford will be deferred while they explore the possibility of an agreement with the health authorities across the border to maintain services at Lifford. The future of Lifford will be considered following these negotiations and after a national report on the cost of care is published in September.

“While an outright commitment to the future of Lifford Hospital would be preferable, at least this provides some hope. Lifford Hospital is one of the best community hospitals in the country. The latest HIQA report found that the facility is operating effectively and providing excellent care levels to patients. It was established in 1799 and is a vital part of our local health services here.

“I am again urging the Health Minister to keep his promise to the people of Donegal and keep Lifford Hospital open. People here understand that the country needs to balance its books, but Donegal has been forced to bare an unreasonable level of the cuts to services. Our schools, garda stations and hospital services are all under threat and once again we were all but forgotten in the latest Government stimulus plan. It is time for the Health Minister to stop playing games with patients in Donegal and start making some real commitments on the future of our local health services.”