A scene from a protest earlier this year, calling for neonatal services to be returned to Dungloe Community Hospital.
Independent Cllr. Micheal Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig and Thomas Pringle, independent TD, have welcomed news that the antenatal clinic in Dungloe Community hospital is to be restored.
However, they said the campaign will not be complete until the gynaecology clinic is also restored to the Dungloe hospital.
“I am glad to see the antenatal clinic re-opening in Dungloe,” Cllr. Mac Giolla Easbuig said, calling the move, “a tribute to the campaign by GAN and the community that kept the pressure on Letterkenny University Hospital to make sure that the clinic was restored.
“The reality is that the community should never have been put in this situation and should not have had to fight to keep a service that they have always been entitled to,” he said.
Early this year, the Saolta University Health Care Group said that due to a staff shortage caused by sick leave, the antenatal clinic and gynaecological services at Dungloe Community Hospital had to be relocated temporarily to Letterkenny University Hospital.
In the statement, a Saolta spokesperson said they appreciated it was a significant inconvenience to expectant mothers and other women who have been using the outreach service in Dungloe.
Deputy Pringle said, “The HSE need to accept that it will not always be feasible in a county the size of Donegal for patients to travel to Letterkenny for appointments and it makes more sense for the consultant to make one journey to Dungloe rather than many pregnant mothers travelling to the hospital.
“For too long we in west Donegal are being kept at the mercy of Letterkenny staffing issues,” Deputy Pringle said.
Cllr. Mac Giolla Easbuig said the campaign will not be finished until the gynaecology clinic is reopened in Dungloe as well. “Gynaecology and antenatal clinics have always been held together in Dungloe and they should be reinstated together,” he said.
The Saolta University Health Care Group did not respond to a request for comment by the time of going to press.