Dáil debates

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Hospital Waiting Lists: Motion [Private Members]


7:25 pm

Photo of Pádraig Mac LochlainnPádraig Mac Lochlainn (Donegal, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I have raised before with the Minister in this Chamber the issue of the funding discrimination that our major hospital in Donegal, Letterkenny University Hospital, continues to endure. There are more than 20,000 people in a county of 160,000 on the waiting list. That amounts to one in eight. I am not even including Sligo hospital, whose waiting list includes people from south Donegal. That is a damning indictment of Government after Government.

The issue for Letterkenny University Hospital is that despite its being the sixth largest hospital in the State, and its having had more than 24,000 inpatients before the pandemic, it is ranked 13th when it comes to the budget. Some allowances can be made for the fact that the major hospitals in Dublin and Galway are dealing with additional specialities but how can we explain the circumstances whereby budgets in the major hospitals are two to three times greater per capita than in Letterkenny University Hospital? I was asked to get these figures by senior hospital staff in Letterkenny because they felt the only way to get to the bottom of this was through parliamentary questions. What is happening is a scandal. There has to be acceptance in the HSE that Donegal is treated like a backwater. It means real impacts in Donegal, where people are forced to travel huge distances for basic procedures unnecessarily. We should have the specialities in Letterkenny University Hospital, the sixth largest hospital in the State. People should not have to travel long distances. This is about equality of access to healthcare. I ask the Minister to examine this. I am going to send to him directly all the statistics I have gathered on this.


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