Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue has said it is utterly unacceptable that overcrowding levels at Letterkenny General Hospital have been allowed to spiral out of control.  At the peak of the crisis this week, 31 people were waiting on trolleys and chairs in the hospital’s A&E.  Overcrowding at hospitals has reached crisis point with over 600 people on trolleys across the country, the highest number ever recorded by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.

Deputy McConalogue commented: “I am appalled that overcrowding at Letterkenny General has reached such drastic levels.  The winter period is traditionally a pressure point for hospitals but proper and effective management of this by the Government would help hospitals through the difficult periods.  This is a crisis which has been deteriorating steadily for the past year, and my party has consistently raised these issues with the Government but it has stood back and refused to take action.

“There are two major problems affecting Letterkenny General.  There is a shortage of staff and a shortage of beds.  The capacity issue within the hospital must be addressed but the cuts the Government made to the Fair Deal scheme has impacted significantly on the number of people who remain in hospital but no longer require intensive medical care and could be move to another care setting if it was available. 

“It’s clear that staff at Letterkenny General are doing extraordinary work under intolerable conditions and I commend them for their continued professionalism.  The situation at the hospital is further evidence that the Government’s health policy is not working.  What we need now is a shift in strategy, combined with realistic budgets which are capable of relieving the pressure on our health service. 

"Despite promises from Minister Leo Varadkar that he would secure extra funding in the Budget, hospitals will actually have less money to spend in 2015 than they did last year. And I am extremely concerned that this will only make matters worse in Donegal and across the country.”

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