Donegal Deputy Charlie McConalogue has called on the Health Minister James Reilly to immediately address the staffing crisis at Carndonagh Community Hospital.
The Fianna Fail Deputy said chronic staffing shortages have resulted in the temporary closure of 4 of the hospital’s 30 beds for several weeks.
“It is unacceptable that Carndonagh Community Hospital has been forced to shut down 4 beds for a number of weeks. This is as a direct result of the Government’s refusal to replace staff who have retired or taken leave,” said Deputy McConalogue.
“Fears are now mounting that the future of this community hospital is in doubt. People are genuinely worried that the staff shortages, temporary bed closures and lack of Government support for the hospital could be the thin end of the wedge. This hospital provides a vital service in the community and it must be protected. It provides respite care for people with disabilities, rehabilitation services for patients discharged from Letterkenny Hospital and assessment for patients who need to be monitored over a period of time.
“Any reduction in bed numbers and resources at Carndonagh Community Hospital would be an extremely short sighted move. Minister Reilly has engaged in a major cull of community hospital beds, and it’s piling more pressure on acute hospitals. Bed closures at community facilities like Carndonagh will push more patients onto already overburdened hospitals like Letterkenny and Sligo General.
“I am calling on the Minister to immediately sanction the recruitment of additional staff so that this hospital can continue to provide a high standard of care at full capacity. I have been in contact with HSE management over the past number of days and I am assured that the current bed closures are just a temporary measure. However it is clear that there are significant staffing pressures which will continue to hit services at the hospital unless they are addressed immediately.
“The health services in Donegal have suffered enough cuts over the past two years. I am urging Government representatives here to ensure that Minister Reilly immediately addresses the issues at Carndonagh Hospital before it’s too late.”