Confirmation that pacemaker services will be reinstated at Letterkenny General Hospital from Monday has been welcomed.
Donegal North East TD Charlie McConalogue has called for a similar commitment to soon be made on the reinstatement of internal defibrillator procedures which were also suspended at Letterkenny in September 2011.
The news was confirmed following questions from Deputy McConalogue to the Minister for Health James Reilly and HSE CEO Cathal Magee at the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children earlier this week.
“This is welcome news for cardiac patients in County Donegal and right across the North West,” said Deputy McConalogue.
“These services should never have been suspended in the first place as the argument that this was a ‘cost containment measure’, did not stand up. The cost of sending patients to Galway or Dublin for these procedures was actually going to cost the health services more in the long-run.
“In addition to this, there is no doubt that these cuts would have had long term implications for the health services in the North West and for the status of Letterkenny Hospital. There were fears that removing pacemaker and internal defibrillator procedures from Letterkenny could signal the beginning of a downgrading of cardiac services at the hospital. Before last September, the hospital carried out 10 – 15 of these procedures a month but for the past 10 months Donegal patients have been forced to travel for this care.
“While it is great news that the much needed pacemaker services will resume on Monday, we must continue to work for a similar commitment to resume internal defibrillator procedures. I am urging the HSE and the Minister for Health James Reilly not to wait any longer before reinstating this service at Letterkenny General Hospital.
“I wish to pay tribute to the Friends of Letterkenny Hospital group and to members of the community who have campaigned tirelessly to get these cuts overturned. I also wish to pay tribute to the hospital management and staff for putting a strong business case together for the service to be reinstated, and to Cllr Ciarán Brogan for pushing this issue strongly at the HSE West Health Forum. I know all will keep up this good work so that Letterkenny may have its defibrillator insertion services back soon as well.