Watch: Donegal cancer patient pleads with Health Minister for better cancer services at Letterkenny University Hospital

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
An Inishowen woman, who is receiving treatment for cancer at Letterkenny University Hospital, staged a mini demonstration as Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly opened a health centre in the peninsula and urged him to update cancer services and facilities in the county.

Roseena Toner, who lives in Clonmany, was accompanied by family and friends, who held placards calling for better facilities at the hospital for people receiving cancer treatment.

The Minister met with Roseena before officially opening the new health centre, where she presented him with a petition, which has over 2000 signatures, and calls for better cancer care facilities at the Donegal hospital.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Speaking to Minister Donnelly in Buncrana this morning, Roseena told him how the facilities are too small and out of date to deal with the number of patients who need to use them. She pointed out how Donegal has a population of over 160,000 people, and a cancer ward with just 11 beds. She added that the Hematology/oncology day unit has 10 chairs for over 30 patients daily and cancer patients in Donegal should not have to leave the county to receive chemotherapy elsewhere. Roseena stressed that the care she is receiving and the staff in the hospital are ‘second-to-none,’ but told the Minister that ‘people are dying’ due to the lack of facilities.

Roseena Toner, centre, with friends, family and Donegal elected representatives in Buncrana.Roseena Toner, centre, with friends, family and Donegal elected representatives in Buncrana.
Roseena Toner, centre, with friends, family and Donegal elected representatives in Buncrana.

Roseena had sent a number of emails to the Minister requesting meetings and told the Journal the Minister’s visit to Buncrana represented her ‘only’ opportunity to try and meet him.

She added how she has been speaking to families of cancer patients, one whose daughter died after receiving treatment and ‘never saw the inside of the oncology ward in Letterkenny. She was treated in Medical 7,

"It’s not on. The service needs to be bigger and updated and he’s the man at the helm.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Roseena has received treatment for her Leukemia previously in both Galway and Dublin and she told how there is a massive difference in facilities and services there, compared to in Letterkenny.

"Eleven beds does not make sense in a county like Donegal and in a county where cancer is, unfortunately, so prominent. It’s a disgrace. You have more than 11 beds in a surgical ward. There are so many people in that unit, of all ages – you have young people, elderly and everyone deserves comfort care and the best facilities. Nobody should have to put up with second class facilities. We’re all there to get the treatment we need.”

Donegal County Councillor Martin McDermott, who has been working with Roseena on her campaign, said she should not have to stand outside in the November cold, seeking better cancer facilities.

"Someone shouldn’t have to stand out there, fighting for services and what is needed in their hospital. These services and facilities need to be delivered by hospital management. It is clear that oncology services are not up to scratch. Roseena is living this every day of the week and seeing what is lacking and what is needed. People in Donegal, receiving cancer treatment, deserve the best service and facilities they can get.”

You can sign Roseena’s petition here