St Joseph's Community Hospital, Stranorlar
A campaign group fighting to save the future of three community hospitals in Donegal has welcomed comments from Deputy Joe McHugh that he has asked the health minister that the hospitals be retained.
Deputy McHugh told Simon Harris this week that the community hospitals in Ramelton, Stranorlar and Lifford should be given a major upgrade as part of a new health service plan which will make available €2.6 billion extra capital funding nationally.
The minister of state met the health minister at the launch of the new North West Cancer Centre in Derry on Monday and requested enhanced services for the hospitals.
Deputy McHugh said he has asked for upgrades for three hospitals to take place alongside plans for a new 120-bed community hospital in Letterkenny. Save Our Services (SOS) have feared that the plans for the new hospital in Letterkenny would be at the expense of the community hospitals, with beds being transferred to the new Letterkenny unit.
Health service campaigners have feared that the plans for the new hospital in Letterkenny would be at the expense of community hospitals with beds being transferred to the new Letterkenny unit.
Deputy McHugh told the Donegal Democrat that he put a case to Minister Harris for the retention of the three hospitals as well as the construction of the new Letterkenny Community Hospital.
“Extra capital funding nationally totaling €2.6 billion has been put forward and my immediate response was to lobby Minister Harris for funding for our community hospitals,” he said.
“I have asked for funding for the community hospitals to upgrade them and bring them up to the required standard which will enhance them well into the future.”
Alan McMenamin from the Save Our Hopsitals Group said he was optimistic that the hospitals can be retained. “That is what we want - the retention of services and if there is money in the capital plan then we want some of that money for those services.”
The group met with Minister Harris in December and Mr McMenamin said they were cautiously optimistic following the meeting.
“Our optimism is heightened at the minute as we feel the proposals we put forward were something very much within the grasp of the State.”