Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue is calling on the Minister for Social Care to urgently clarify the plan for three community hospitals in the county. The Government has announced funding for a number of community hospitals in Donegal, but there is concern about the future of St. Joseph’s in Stranorlar, Ramelton Community Hospital and Lifford Community Hospital.
Deputy McConalogue explained, “While I welcome the money allocated under the Health Capital Plan for services in Carndonagh, Buncrana and Letterkenny, I am seriously concerned about the future for the community hospitals in Stranorlar, Lifford and Ramelton. The plan, published by Minister Kathleen Lynch, states that these hospitals will be “replaced” by Letterkenny and no additional funding has been allocated to them. This is extremely worrying; the hospitals in Stranorlar, Lifford and Ramelton provide essential services for people in these towns and the surrounding areas. Now the Minister appears to be signalling the closure of these hospitals.
“Does this mean that residents will be transferred out of their own communities and forced to take a bed in a facility in Letterkenny? This would have major repercussions, not only for the residents themselves, but also for their families, who will have to travel longer distances to visit them.
“These community hospitals provide much needed step down care, taking people out of acute hospitals and ensuring that they receive the care they need in their own locality, near to their friends and family. They are an important facet in the healthcare system; however Minister Lynch appears to be signalling the closure of three of these facilities in Donegal.
“I am calling on Minister Lynch to urgently clarify the situation and to secure the future of Lifford, Ramelton and St. Josephs in Stanorlar. The phrase “to be replaced by Letterkenny new CNU” leads me to believe that their closure is on the cards and I want a commitment from the Minister that this is not the case”.