McConalogue calls for protection of services at Carn Hospital

Donegal North East Fianna Fáil TD Charlie McConalogue has said staff numbers and beds at Carndonagh Community Hospital must be protected in the interests of patients and the local community. His comments come following a large public meeting on Friday 27 January, attended by over 400 people.

Deputy McConalogue said, “The worth and value to families of Carndonagh Community Hospital must not be underestimated. There were 319 admissions to the hospital in 2011, higher than any of the preceding 4 years. This is in spite of staff cuts, funding cuts and beds closing. This demonstrates that the demand is there for in-patient services along with the many outpatient services. It also demonstrates that HSE staff in Donegal and particularly Carndonagh Hospital staff are working to the best of their ability in the best interest of the patients and clients they serve.

“Funding for Carndonagh Hospital has fallen steadily from €4,027,625 in 2009 to €3,259,667 in 2011 with further cuts expected. Yet admissions during the same period increased from 279 in 2009 to 295 in 2010 and 319 in 2011.

“Less than 10 years ago, over €2.7 million was invested in building Ard Aoibhinn, the state-of-the art Alzheimer’s Unit and now we are witnessing the closure so far of 4 of its beds. Many other improvements have been made at the hospital in recent years to ensure that the level of care available is now better than it has ever been. The most recent HIQA report on Carndonagh Community Hospital praised the care provided by staff and highlighted the satisfaction of patients and their families. Most of the recommendations made were around policies and structural improvements.

“The fact that the HSE estimates an additional €3.7 million would be required to see the hospital comply with all recommendations made by HIQA is a matter of concern, considering how we have seen the Government use HIQA reports in an attempt to justify to cuts to services or bed closures. A common sense approach must be taken here. The Government needs to ensure that the resources are made available as required to ensure that the services to local patients continue and are of a high standard.

“The public meeting on Sunday night sent out a strong message about just how important it this hospital to the local community. I am calling on all public representatives in this region to work together to secure the future of Carndonagh Community Hospital,” said Deputy McConalogue.