DONEGAL Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill has called on the Minister for Health James Reilly to immediately address the staffing crisis at community hospitals in Donegal.
Raising the matter with Minister Reilly in the Seanad last week, Senator Ó Domhnaill said patients are being put at risk as a result of severe cutbacks at community health service levels.
The Donegal Senator raised particular concerns about St Joseph’s Community Hospital in Stranorlor.
“St Joseph’s is under increasing pressure to maintain its level of respite care and long-term patient care in the face of high levels of admissions and serious resource shortages,” said Senator Ó Domhnaill.
“There were over 700 admissions last year, approximately 80% of which were for respite care. HIQA has said that given the high level of admissions and discharges, the hospital needs additional staffing to meet the demands of the long-term stay patients in the hospital.
“It is clear that key frontline posts in St Josephs and other community hospitals in Donegal need to be filled immediately. But the ban on recruitment in the public sector is preventing this from happening. In the case of St Josephs, there are other issues regarding the structure of the building that must be addressed, but the most urgent matter affecting patients is staff shortages.
“This is an issue that affects community hospitals right across the North West. These facilities have suffered severe cut backs as a result of Minister Reilly’s attack on community health services in this region. There are gaping holes in frontline health service staffing levels and that is no doubt that patient care is at risk as a result.
“The Minister’s response to my questions was woefully inadequate and will do nothing to ease the concerns of patients and their families. I am appealing to the Fine Gael and Labour representatives here in Donegal to look at what is happening to their local health services and ensure that their colleague Minister James Reilly address the very serious problems that exist for patients in Donegal.”