Four-year wait for Rheumatology services

Rheumatology patients in Donegal have been forced to travel to Co. Leitrim for treatment for the past four years.

Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue has now called on the Health Minister and the Saolta Hospital Group to immediately set a date for the reinstatement of rheumatology services at Letterkenny General Hospital.

Deputy McConalogue said: “The Saolta Hospital Group has been giving assurances since early 2011 that rheumatology services would be reinstated at Letterkenny General Hospital, however, 4 years later arthritis sufferers are still being forced to travel to Co. Leitrim for treatment.”

He added that management were “prioritising” the Manorhamilton facility, claiming that if the Letterkenny clinic is re-opened services at the Co. Leitrim unit will see its services reduced as consultants will have to travel between the two clinics.

“This is a completely unacceptable position and serves to highlight the fact that the needs of the patients in Donegal are not being considered.”

He added the lack of action emphasises the Government’s “disinterest and disdain” in those living outside Dublin.

Deputy McConalogue called upon the “Dublin-based and Dublin-focused” Health Minister Leo Varadkar to intervene “immediately” and sort this situation out. Donegal patients cannot be expected to wait any longer for this essential service.”