The Government’s “shameful track record in Donegal” is highlighted by its failure to provide for the most vulnerable, sick and dying at Letterkenny University Hospital, said Independent candidate Peter Casey.
Mr Casey said he is committed to reversing the “devastating deficit in resources” across departments at the hospital.
“The chronic staff shortages, overcrowding in A&E with sick people lying on trolleys, and crises across departments due to long-term neglect by the Government, are quite unacceptable,” he said.
Mr Casey insists that when elected he will work hard to achieve greater cross-border co-operation in health services to give the sick in Donegal a fighting chance.
“Improving cross-border co-operation in health is a top priority for me. I will work hard to ensure the people of Donegal have the option to access increased health services just across the border.
“On a personal note, when my wife fell ill recently, a GP in Moville told us to go straight to Altnagelvin hospital due to the lack of capacity in Letterkenny and the close proximity of Derry. She spent six days in intensive care and it was a tremendous relief to have such a facility so close to home. I will be working to improve cross border co-operation in health, so that more services in the North are made available to people in Donegal.”
“The revelation last week that up to 12 stroke patients in Donegal are dying each year because Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH) is the only hospital in Ireland that does not have a dedicated stroke unit, is disgraceful,” Mr Casey said.
“Consultant Geriatrician at LUH, Ken Mulpeter is right to be annoyed at the lack of delivery by this Government, the current Health Minister Simon Harris and indeed the previous Health Minister Leo Varadkar.”
An eight-bed unit had been approved before the flood of 2013 and was expected to open last August. However, an agency recruitment embargo has stopped the unit from opening as promised.
“A proper stroke unit is an integral part of any acute hospital.
“There are eight beds assigned for stroke patients in Donegal, but patients are literally dying because of a lack of investment in health.
“Up to 12 stroke patients have died each year or are living with severe disabilities because this Government has failed to allow funding for three nurses, a physiotherapist, occupational therapist and health care assistant.
“The people of Donegal deserve health care equality with the rest of the island of Ireland. A life in Donegal should not be less than that of one in Derry, Dublin, Galway or Cork. The people of Donegal deserve better services, they need representative who will listen to healthcare professionals, one who will get things done,” said Mr Casey.