Inishowen Fianna Fáil TD Charlie McConalogue has expressed concern about the impact of the revised HSE service plan on community hospitals and nursing units in Donegal and the North West region.
His comments follow confirmation from the Health Minister James O’Reilly last week that he has asked the HSE to revise the proposed service plan for 2012.
Deputy McConalogue said, “I am deeply concerned about the revision of the HSE service plan and what impact it will have on services at the community hospital in Carndonagh, Buncrana Community Nursing Unit and Letterkenny General Hospital services.
“Local health services are already under serious strain and we must avoid any further bed closures. My worry is that Minister Reilly will use the service plan to start making a case that community hospitals and community nursing units are no longer viable. There is huge fear about this within the local community. Community hospitals and nursing units play a very important role in rural locations and I am working to ensure that these vital services are protected.
“We are almost midway through January with no approved plan for the running of our health service for the coming year. This is not how we should be doing business. Such an important plan that impacts practically every household in the country in some shape or form should be complete and approved by the Minister at this stage, and should be given to all Oireachtas members for consideration in advance.
“We have already significant bed closures at community level across the country last year. Minister Reilly’s agenda is casting doubt over the entire future of community hospitals and community nursing units. I will continue to oppose any further cutbacks to our local health services and will fight tooth and nail to ensure that current services are maintained in 2012 and into the future.”