Co-operating for Cancer Care NorthWest, CCC(NW) is appalled that management in Letterkenny General Hospital (LGH) has been coerced into considering making a decision to transfer gynaecological services from its current site, beside the ‘Maternity Ward’ to ‘Surgical 2 Ward’ in September, because of the ongoing budgetary cuts being imposed on them by the Troika, Government and HSE.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Noelle Duddy, spokesperson for CCC(NW), stated: “The Government, DoH and HSE need as a matter of urgency to review Letterkenny’s budgetary requirements. Whilst CCC(NW) very much welcome the pending opening of the new Emergency Department and Medical Wing in September, we believe that it is totally unrealistic and unacceptable for the above mentioned bodies to expect LGH to do this from a ‘resource neutral position.’ By not providing additional finance to staff this much needed new facility, the Government, DoH and HSE are forcing LGH management into considering transferring the Gynae Ward, a decision it would rather not have to make.”
She added: “As a group we share in the outrage that is being voiced across Donegal regarding this potential decision. Having discussed this issue with John Hayes, HSE West Area Manager we understand that LGH management do not want to have to make this move and we recognise and understand that In the ‘here and now’, in the austere reality managers find themselves, they have very difficult decisions to make in order to ensure that they can continue to provide ALL current hospital services including gynae services within current budgetary constraints. LGH management and staff find themselves in an impossible position and need our continuing support.
“Mr Hayes outlined that the proposal on the table regarding gynae services in LGH involved the transfer of 13 gynae beds from their current site to 2-X-6 bedded bays at the entrance of Surgical 2. Side wards would be made available for women in circumstances such as threatened and/or miscarriage. Gynae experienced nurses would cover all nursing shifts, 24/7 and the two bays would in effect form a separate ward within Surgical 2. Mr Hayes strongly emphasised that women’s privacy and dignity would be respected. Colposcopy services remain unchanged. We acknowledge that the above proposal is not perfect but under the outrageous circumstances management finds itself in we are very relieved that this proposal is keeping gynae services in Letterkenny. We also trust, that should this transfer occur, management and gynae/hospital staff will do as they always do, which is, to the best of their ability continue to provide their professional best for their patients.”
Massive strain on service delivery
Ms Duddy said the budget cuts were causing huge strain: “Nevertheless, it cannot be over emphasised that whilst hospital management and staff are obliged to work within their allocated budget the Government must recognise that ongoing budget cuts and the recruitment embargo are placing a massive strain on the delivery of key services. Locally and nationally problems are mounting and room to maneuver to find potential short/long term solutions are becoming tighter if not impossible. Ultimately key essential services are being threatened, undermined and possibly cut/lost. The news this week of a further €130 million of cuts to the Health Service this year does not augur well for LGH or the rest of the country’s Public Health Service. Nationally, people’s frustrations/anger/fears regarding cuts to the Health Service need to be comprehensively addressed by the Government and Health Minister, James Reilly. CCC(NW) has lobbied our six TDs regarding the ongoing crisis facing LGH. We call on Minister Reilly to review Letterkenny’s budget in a favourable manner and to recognise and reward Letterkenny’s cost effectiveness and many achievements by granting it regional status.”