Thomas Pringle TD has condemned the announcement of the closure of the gynaecology ward at Letterkenny General Hospital (LGH) calling it a “very worrying situation”.
Speaking on the matter following a meeting with hospital management the Independent TD for Donegal South West stated: “In order to facilitate the opening of the new Emergency Department and Medical Unit with no additional funding it has been decided to close the gynaecology ward at LGH. This is an integral specialist ward which also accommodates cancer patients.
“I understand that there are some concerns that the risk assessment conducted which led to the decision to close the gynae ward was done without an onsite visit to the ward – and additionally, that no members of staff were consulted as part of this assessment either.
“Management at the meeting today stated that this was not the case but any possible oversights would raise serious questions for me and are something which I will be looking into as a matter of urgency. It is essential that such processes must be given the upmost attention, particularly when people’s health and wellbeing is at stake.
“The outcome of this decision means that there will be 2x6 unisex bed rooms in Surgical Ward 2 allocated to gynaecology patients, with management making a commitment that ‘no woman will be without a single room if required’, while gynae outpatient clinics will continue in the same location as at present,” added Pringle.
“Earlier this week the Regional Director of Operations for HSE West visited the hospital and told management that the budget must now be cut from €8.8m per month to €7.7m per month. This will amount to an astonishing budget cut of €13.2 million per year,” Deputy Pringle stated.
He added: “I understand that hospital management must work within its allocated budget but the budget cuts and recruitment embargo is putting a massive strain on the delivery of key services. There are many problems arising at LGH as a result of these cuts and the opening of the Emergency Department and Medical Unit without any additional resources is a threat to the provision of key services there. This could leave the hospital in a position where it will not be able to meet the HSE required quality standards in the future.
“Letterkenny General Hospital has had many major achievements over the years which have never been acknowledged. But the decision to close the gynaecology ward cannot be ignored.
“The people of Donegal deserve a health service which they can rely on and where they can expect to receive the care they need without fear of further closures and cutbacks. This is one closure we cannot allow to happen and I am calling on Minister Reilly and the HSE to reverse this decision as a matter of upmost importance,” stated Deputy Pringle.