Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty has this afternoon again called on the Government to approve funding for the reopening of the 19 bed short stay ward in Letterkenny University Hospital.

The Donegal TD raised the issue during Order of Business in the Dáil with Tánaiste Simon Coveney, and urged the Government to give a commitment that the ward would be reopened.

The debate comes following the launch of a Sinn Féin campaign earlier this month to have the facility brought back into use for patients.

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Teacha Doherty said: “I want to raise an issue which I’ve raised with you on a number of occasions now and that’s the programme for Government commit to reduce overcrowding in our Emergency Departments.

“Clearly the Government is utterly failing in relation to this.

“In my own constituency, Letterkenny University Hospital continues to experience some of the highest levels of hospital overcrowding anywhere in this state.

“Where last year 4,889 patients were forced onto trolleys and chairs at the hospital’s chaotic Emergency Department.

“That’s an average Tánaiste, of 19 patients languishing on trolleys every single day during 2017.

“What makes this situation even worse is that only mere metres away from where these patients are lying, many of whom are in pain, is a ward with 19 beds lying empty.

“That’s 19 beds which could accommodate every single person who spent time on a trolley last year at Letterkenny University Hospital.

“Management at the hospital last year requested the HSE to open that ward; €1.8M to employ the staff which it says can be done.

“So Tánaiste my question to you is this: will you now ensure that the necessary resources are made available to end the scandalous situation where patients are lying on trolleys at the hospital day in and day out?

“Will you commit to the reopening of the Short Stay Ward at Letterkenny University Hospital?

“Go Raibh Maith Agaibh.”

View Deputy Doherty's Dail speech here: OOB 12072018 SHORT STAY WARD LUH.wmv

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