Donegal North East Fianna Fáil TD Charlie McConalogue has vowed to fight against the closure of community hospital beds in Donegal North East. Deputy McConalogue raised the issue with Minister for Health James Reilly and the Chief Executive of the HSE Cathal Magee during a meeting of the Oireachtas Health Committee last week.
Speaking afterwards Deputy McConalogue said: “I questioned the Minister and the head of the HSE repeatedly about fears that they are planning to close a number of community hospital beds and nursing units across the country. I expressed my strong view that we need to protect these community health services for patients with long-term care needs. Neither Minister Reilly nor Cathal Magee would give me assurances in this regard. Instead they confirmed that they plan to close more beds in the coming year. However they refused to name specific locations.
“I will not stand for any further erosion of services in the community health services. Community hospitals and nursing homes provide vital services in rural areas, mainly to elderly people in need of long-term care.
“Ramelton is an example of one such facility which was opened in 1981 and has been serving the Ramelton area since then. The HSE moratorium on recruitment is affecting bed capacity in all facilities with 2 further bed closures proposed for Ramelton. These beds must be protected at all costs. This is an excellent facility for older people 10 minutes from Letterkenny with the doctors surgery next door. The professional care provided from here is excellent and it is an important resource for Ramelton and the surrounding areas.
“I will fight tooth and nail to stop any bed closures at these facilities in Donegal. Seeking efficiencies is one thing but removing front line services is a different matter entirely. People need and deserve clarity and not more scare-mongering,” concluded Deputy McConalogue.