Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue says the Health Minister must provide additional ambulances to reduce the costs incurred by Letterkenny University Hospital.  Last year, the hospital forked out €1.3m on private ambulance services – up from €707,000 the year before.

Deputy McConalogue commented, “The figures provided by the HSE show a staggering increase in costs for private ambulance services and it is simply not sustainable.  I have expressed concerns about ambulance provision in Donegal over the past number of years but the Government has continued to ignore the problem.  The fact that hospital management have had to resort to spending €1.3 million on ambulance cover highlights the need for increased cover.

“We are talking about a huge increase in costs for private ambulance hire in a one year period.  If we had a properly funded public ambulance service this money could be spent on tackling ED overcrowding, waiting lists and staffing issues.

“I have contacted the Minister for Health to ask him to review ambulance provision in the county and ensure that additional resources are provided.  We need a guarantee that Donegal will have adequate ambulance cover to cater for the large geographic area and to service Letterkenny University Hospital.

“Minister Harris recently visited LUH and saw first-hand the stress that staff and services are under.  Funding has always been a problem, but now we learn than over €1m was spent on private ambulances last year.  This is simply not sustainable. Letterkenny University Hospital is the hub of our health service in Donegal and it needs to be properly supported at Government level. I will be doing all I can to ensure the Minister makes this happen.”