Management at Letterkenny University Hospital has confirmed that the hospital has suspended chemotherapy services for new patients until March due to a staff shortage.
The hospital is not starting new patients on chemotherapy treatments due to a shortage of consultant oncologists and patients are being sent to other hospitals for treatment.
In a statement the hospital said a locum medical oncologist who was contracted to fill one of two such posts at the hospital until the end of March 2017 has resigned to take up a post abroad.
Deputy Pearse Doherty raised concerns about the suspension of services after reports from families of cancer patients who said there loved ones were being sent to Galway for therapy.
The hospital said a new locum consultant medical oncologist will be joining on March 6th. In the meantime the hospital only has a second consultant medical oncologist available to cover three of the six weeks before the new locum starts.
“In this context it is not clinically appropriate to start new patients on chemotherapy regimes when we would not have the consultant medical cover to ensure it could be provided without interruption to the regime,” the Saolta University Health Care Group said in a statement.
“In the interest of patient safety we are therefore making arrangements with our consultant medical oncologist colleagues in Saolta University Health Care Group to have new patients who are referred to LUH both seen and treated outside of Letterkenny. “