DESPITE a smaller than expected turn out for the ‘Day of Action’ protest at Letterkenny University Hospital on Saturday, some 180 people have volunteered to join a soon-to-be formed committee, to liaise with hospital management.
Organiser Mary T Sweeney spoke to the Donegal News yesterday and in her estimation some 300 people attended the meeting which was called to highlight the overcrowding at A&E. Around 17 meetings outside hospitals around the country took place with University Hospital Limerick drawing the largest crowd.
“We invited people to put their names down with a view to forming a diverse committee. We have 180 names and those are from right across the county. They are people who want to get involved to make things better. One such objective put forward was the idea of a minor injuries clinic.
“There are already eleven such clinics around the country and they take pressure away from EDs and GP practices.
“Hopefully we can push this through and work with the hospital to put more services in place,” she said.
Ms Sweeney said that the turn-out was good considering the icy weather which had kept many people from making the journey to Letterkenny.
Speakers at the meeting included cancer care campaigner Betty Holmes. John Quinn of Lifford Hospital committee, Cllr Gerry McMonagle, Chairman of the Regional Health Forum West, Cllr Michael McClafferty and student nurse Luke Meehan, son of Ms Sweeney.
“It was great to see so many staff from the hospital using their lunch hour to attend the meeting.
“Saturday’s event was just lighting the ignition switch on this. Surely a minor injuries clinic could be set up in St Conal’s Hospital and this would alleviate the pressure on the ED and doctors’ surgeries. It is all about benefiting patients,” she added.
The aim of the demonstration was to highlight to government that additional staff and resources need to be prioritised for front-line services in Donegal.