Update:

Locum Consultant Medical Oncologist will be appointed in Letterkenny - hospital boss

Normal medical oncology service at LUH will resume on March 6th

Staff Reporter

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Locum Consultant Medical Oncologist will be appointed in Letterkenny -  hospital boss

Letterkenny University Hospital General Manager, Mr Seán Murphy, has confirmed that the replacement Locum Consultant Medical Oncologist will be appointed in early March.

In response to confirmation that 51 Donegal cancer patients have been referred to Galway University Hospital for chemotherapy services Letterkenny University Hospital General Manager, Mr Seán Murphy, has  confirmed that the replacement Locum Consultant Medical Oncologist will be appointed in early March.

The statement says in the absence of the appropriate  consultant medical cover it is not clinically appropriate to start new patients on chemotherapy.

The Locum Consultant Medical Oncologistis will take up the post on March 6th, Mr Murphy stated and added that the normal medical oncology service at LUH will resume when the new Locum Consultant starts on that date.

Earlier today Deputy Pearse Doherty called HSE figures confirming 51 Donegal cancer patients have been referred to Galway University Hospital for chemotherapy services as “outrageous”.

In a statement issued on behalf of Letterkenny University Hospital-Saolta University Health Care Group, a short time ago, Mr Murphy stated, “Letterkenny University Hospital provides medical oncology services to patients and there are two Consultant Medical Oncologist Posts at the Hospital.  

"One of these posts had been filled by a locum, pending the appointment of a permanent Medical Oncologist. This locum recently resigned. In this context it is not clinically appropriate to start new patients on chemotherapy regimes at LUH when we do not have the consultant medical cover to ensure it can be provided without interruption to the regime.

"In the interests of patient safety we have, therefore, made arrangements with our Consultant Medical Oncologist colleagues in Saolta University Heath Care Group and more than fifty new referrals to UHG have been received since this contingency arrangement was put in place.

“The normal service at LUH will resume when the new Locum Consultant starts on the 6th March 2017.

“There is a separate process underway for the recruitment of a consultant into the second substantive post described above and this post was advertised in national and international media at the beginning of December. 

“The Oncology Clinical Team and Hospital management are very aware of the additional stress associated with cancer patients having to travel for chemotherapy treatment.  However, in the interim before the new locum starting, the priority must be to ensure that patients are provided with a safe service which has sufficient consultant cover to guarantee uninterrupted delivery of chemotherapy.”

Deputy Doherty had raised the issue of chemotherapy services last month, after hearing from constituents whose loved ones had been transferred to Galway for the treatment. The HSE later confirmed the suspension of all new chemotherapy referrals at the Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH) oncology department, following the resignation of a locum oncologist.