Dáil debates

Wednesday, 15 May 2024

Delivering Universal Healthcare: Statements


1:50 pm

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

3 o’clock

The Minister received correspondence late last year from more than 80 GPs and more than 20 consultants in County Donegal about their concerns with Letterkenny University Hospital. I know he met with them and heard face to face the serious concerns they had. As part of the correspondence, they revealed to him that Letterkenny is a model 3 hospital, but the reality is it should be upgraded. Comparing Letterkenny with all other model 3 hospitals in the State, it is clear that we in Donegal are discriminated against. We are failed by the block funding. I ask the Minister to look at that correspondence again. The funding was renewed in recent days and it again demonstrates clearly the need to look at the funding model for Letterkenny. That is the core reason we do not have the nurses, doctors and beds we require.

What I want to raise today, specifically from the correspondence, is the intensive care unit. We have a serious situation with only five critical care beds. There is one extra for overflow and no high dependency unit. There is a single isolation room. There is a lack of an electronic clinical information system. There was a recent examination and there were clear concerns about it. In their correspondence, the GPs and consultants propose an interim arrangement, which is needed, to provide ten intensive care beds on a temporary basis to address what they are facing. That is an immediate ask. I am asking the Minister to seriously consider that. He has the correspondence. I am also asking him to look at this funding model and consider if Letterkenny should be upgraded to a model 4 hospital. I have gone through all of the issues around diabetes and cancer care, the issue with surgeons and consultants, and the fact there is no surgical hub planned for Letterkenny even though it is a bigger model 3 hospital than others that will have a surgical hub. There are many issues and I have little time, but on the issue of the intensive care unit, I ask the Minister to read this correspondence and to engage and meet with its authors as they have requested.


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