Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue has called on the Minister for Health to provide a guarantee on the future of breast cancer services at Letterkenny General Hospital and to immediately commit to appointing a second breast cancer consultant.
Deputy McConalogue’s call comes in the wake of an unprecedented interview given to Highland Radio’s Shaun Doherty Show by the sole breast cancer consultant at the hospital, Mr. Michael Sugrue. In the highly emotive interview, Mr. Sugrue pleaded for a second consultant breast surgeon to be appointed to the hospital and claimed that his position was being made untenable by the HSE.
Deputy McConalogue said, “Services at Letterkenny General Hospital are being diminished before our eyes. This deterioration is prompting resignations and media appearances by eminent surgeons appealing to the Government to provide the necessary resources to improve standards. This is a scandalous situation.
“In the wake of Mr. Kevin Moran’s unprecedented resignation in protest at the lack of resources at the hospital, we now have another senior and highly qualified surgeon saying he cannot sustain an essential service unless additional resources are allocated. Mr. Sugrue’s frustration was clearly evident by the fact that he had to take to the airwaves to outline his concerns.
“I am very concerned by plans by the Saolta hospital group to redirect initial referrals from Donegal GPs to the breast cancer team at Galway University Hospital, rather than to the Breast Cancer Team at Letterkenny General. Dr Sugrue’s comments that he feels this is an attempt to get him to resign his post are extremely worrying and must be addressed immediately.
“I look forward to meeting with the Department of Health on Friday, and with representatives from SAOLTA and Letterkenny Hospital Management together with Donegal Oireachtas members and Donegal Action for Cancer Care, where I will be reiterating my concerns. It is imperative that a second consultant is recruited at Letterkenny General Hospital without delay”.