Mac Lochlainn says Letterkenny hospital must be upgraded from Model 3 to Model 4 claiming Donegal ‘discrimination’

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Buncrana-based TD. Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has called for Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH) to be upgraded to a Model 4 hospital claiming ‘it is clear that we in Donegal are discriminated against’.

He made the demand in the Dáil on Wednesday afternoon saying that due to the growing population in the Donegal area LUH needs to be upgraded from a Model 3 to a larger Model 4 hospital and funded accordingly.

“The Minister received correspondence late last year from more than 80 GPs and more than 20 consultants in County Donegal about their concerns with LUH. I know he met with them and heard face to face the serious concerns they had.

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"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,” Deputy Mac Lochlainn said.

Letterkenny University HospitalLetterkenny University Hospital
Letterkenny University Hospital

The Sinn Féin TD asked the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly 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,” he stated.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn raised specific concerns around the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at LUH.

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"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,” said the Buncrana TD.

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Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy Colm Burke, did not directly respond to Deputy Mac Lochlainn’s concerns.

But he said: “Since coming to office, the Government has delivered the highest level of investment in health and social care in the history of the State.

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"There are more people working in our health service than ever before. If we go back to 2014, there were 103,000 people working in the HSE whereas the figure is now more than 145,000 whole-time equivalents.”

The junior minister raised a number of initiatives being proposed to improve services.

“We will remove private care from public hospitals, including through the ongoing roll-out of the public-only consultant contract to ensure increased public-only activity in public hospitals.

"We will implement the national elective ambulatory strategy through the development of elective hospitals and surgical hubs. The first two of these hubs will open this year in Dublin, with four more to open next year.

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"We will also progress design and planning for the four elective hospitals, with two in Dublin, one in Cork and one in Galway,” said Deputy Burke.

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