A Donegal TD has branded the last number of days surrounding the future of and a funding announcement for two out of the three Donegal Community Hospitals as a complete debacle of the Governments own creating.

Deputy Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher said it is ‘clear and evident’ that there was no funding announcement and that a plan for all community hospital’s – Ramelton, Lifford, St. Joseph’s – will not be complete for another six to eight weeks.

Deputy Gallagher described the announcement by Minister Joe McHugh as a ‘ghost grant’.

“I met with the HSE, along with all other Donegal Oireachtas members just two weeks ago - it was always clear that no funding was even applied for by the HSE, nor had HIQA been consulted on the matter of the future of the three hospitals,” Deputy Gallagher said.

He added: “What we have seen and witnessed over the past number of days has been nothing short of scandalous and an embarrassment.

“A Government Minister of State announcing funding for two Hospitals; Stranorlar and Ramelton which was a non existent grant approval and furthermore the effective closure of a third Hospital in Lifford, all based on a plan which is not even completed by the HSE or even lodged for funding approval nor has it obtained HIQA sanction.

“The Donegal Deputies were informed recently by the HSE that ‘preliminary reports were being prepared and that drawing and sketches were not finalised’.

“The Minister of State's actions have completely eroded confidence in the process which is still underway.”

Deputy Gallagher called on the Minister for Health to intervene and restore confidence to this process and immediately guarantee the long term future of long term stay beds and a complete restoration of full services to all three hospitals.

“I am particularly calling on the HSE to clarify the situation regarding Lifford as the last number of days has completely destroyed the future prospects of their Hospital and left them in limbo.

“Community Hospitals play a key and essential role in the medical care and well being of the citizens of Donegal and nothing short of full restoration of Staff levels, services within the Hospitals and the retention of long stay beds will satisfy the communities effected.

“I am impressing on the HSE to immediately bring clarity on their intentions regarding Lifford Community Hospital, as the McHugh announcement has been totally destructive of their future hopes for their Community Hospital.” Deputy Gallagher concluded.

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