Donegal North East TD Charlie McConalogue has called on the Minister for Health Dr James Reilly to reconsider his policy of forcing Letterkenny Hospital to stick to impossible budget cuts when he visits Donegal this week. Deputy McConalogue has said Letterkenny’s significantly reduced budget this year will have a serious impact on patients.
Deputy McConalogue said: “Letterkenny General Hospital is this year being forced to operate from a budget of €95 million. That’s a drop of €8 million from €103 million last year. Given that the hospital had budget overrun of €4.5 million last year, I am asking Minister Reilly how he can expect the hospital to make such significant without hitting patients?
“At an Oireachtas Health Committee meeting last week I challenged the Minister to explain how Letterkenny Hospital could continue to provide the same level of patient services under these circumstances. The Minister simply said there would be no wriggle room given to the hospital. The Chief Executive of the HSE Cathal Magee said this means the hospital will have to cut back its workload for the rest of the year.
“Letterkenny is currently facing into a budget overrun of up to €9 million if it continues on its current path. I am fearful that in order to meet the Minister’s demands, there will inevitably be a severe impact on patient services from now on. People will be left waiting even longer for the treatment and procedures they need.
“I welcome the fact that the Minister is visiting the hospital this Thursday. However, this visit cannot be an empty gesture. The Minister must be willing to listen and take on board the serious issues facing Letterkenny Hospital. He must be prepared to work with hospital management to ensure that services are not cut in the second half of this year in a way that will harm patients.”