Government must clarify funding for reopening of Letterkenny University Hospital’s 20 bed Short Stay Ward- Mac Lochlainn

Speaking as the crisis at the Emergency Department of Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH) escalates again, Donegal Sinn Féin Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has called on the Minister of Health, Simon Harris and the Government to clarify the exact nature of the funding being provided to the management of the hospital to reopen the 20 bed Short Stay Ward.

Senator Mac Lochlainn said: “In 2018, the highest number ever of patients on trolleys was recorded at the Emergency Department of LUH.

“Over 5,000 of our citizens in Donegal were forced on to a trolley or bed in a corridor or ward very much inappropriate to their care needs. Often after waiting long hours in distress at the Emergency Department.

“As well as that, the nurses, doctors and support staff working in the Department are forced to work in impossible conditions, day in, day out. They are being failed horrendously.

“This scandal is the direct result of Government policies and the failure to fund the neccesary numbers of beds, nurses and doctors at LUH and community hospitals across Donegal, over recent years.

“In early 2017, the management at LUH applied to the HSE for €1.8 million to reopen and fully staff the 20 bed Short Stay Ward at the hospital. This ward, if reopened, would seriously alleviate the pressure on the Emergency Department.

“A year and a half after they applied for this funding, local Government Minister Joe McHugh stated on the Highland Radio, Nine to Noon Show that the Minister for Health had agreed to the funding and that management of the LUH had been advised to commence the recruitment process. Three months later and with the crisis ongoing, it is still unclear as to the extent of funding provided.

“I have submitted questions to the Minister for Health today, seeking urgent clarification that a) the HSE and his Department have sanctioned the full €1.8 million of funding and b) to confirm that the full 20 bed Short Stay Ward will reopen as soon as possible. The people of Donegal need answers and they need them fast.”

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