Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue says the Health Minister must ensure that patients in Donegal benefit from the newly expanded National Treatment Purchase Fund. The latest figures from the HSE reveal that at the end of December 2016 there were 1,020 people waiting 18 months or more for an outpatient appointment at Letterkenny University Hospital.
Deputy McConalogue commented, “The reintroduction of the National Treatment Purchase Fund was a key priority for Fianna Fáil, and I along with my negotiating colleagues fought hard to secure a commitment from Fine Gael that €15m would be ring-fenced for the NTPF in 2017. This pledge was contained in the Confidence & Supply Agreement and I am pleased that Minister Simon Harris has ensured that the Fund is now operational.
“It is extremely important that patients are now offered appointments with other hospitals as quickly as possible. The NTPF was extremely effective in the past in reducing waiting lists and we need to ensure that this success is replicated under Fine Gael.
“There is a particular problem in Donegal – not only are waiting lists unacceptably high, Letterkenny University Hospital was operating the full capacity protocol on over 100 days last year resulting in an unacceptable level of cancelled operations.
“It is evident for anyone who visits the hospital to see that it’s at breaking point. Staff are working under extremely stressful conditions, and concerns about both patient and staff safety have been expressed numerous times. Minister Harris witnessed the situation first-hand on a recent visit to the hospital.
“We need to ease the pressure on Letterkenny University Hospital and I am urging Minister Harris to ensure that patients in Donegal are given full access to the NTPF to reduce these extortionate waiting lists”.