A lack of staff has once again forced the closure of beds in Buncrana Comunity Nursing Unit, the Inish Times can exclusively reveal.

Following a query from the Inish Times, the HSE has confirmed that two beds in the Inishowen facility have been closed due to “nurse staffing shortages”.

Buncrana Community Nursing Unit normally accommodates 30 residents, which provides long term care and short term care including convalescent care, respite care, rehab and palliative care.

However the nursing unit is currently accommodating 25 residents since September.

A spokesperson for the HSE said approval has been given to appoint two staff nurses to address this deficit and a campaign is now underway.

“The HSE would like to apologise to families impacted by this temporary reduction in service. Day Services at the hospital continue to function as normal accommodating up to 24 day care clients five days per week.

“The HSE is committed to a full restoration of services as soon as possible,” the spokesperson said.

Inishowen Senator Padraig Mac Lochlainn said the closure of the beds was a “serious development” for the local community.

“It is now confirmed that the capacity of the Community Nursing Unit has already been down five beds from 30 beds to 25 and that this statement confirms a further two bed closures.

“That’s a loss of almost one in four beds at our community hospital and that is a serious development for our community.

“I understand that the recruitment embargo where the Government and the HSE will not sign off on new posts across the health service is having a huge impact on our services.

“The lack of beds in our community hospitals and nursing units is also having a serious knock on effect on Letterkenny University Hospital where patients have to remain in our major acute hospital when they should be in the community “step down beds” for convalescence.

“These lack of beds at Letterkenny Hospital is what leads to the crisis in the Emergency Department with long waits and a trolley instead of a proper hospital bed.

“And it leads to increased hospital waiting lists for thousands of people across Donegal as operations are cancelled every day in Letterkenny.

“So the cuts in beds and nurses at Buncrana Community Nursing Unit need to be reversed as soon as possible and I will be raising this with the Minister for Health directly.”

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