Donegal TD calls for short stay ward to reopen

A DONEGAL TD has called on the HSE to reopen the short stay ward at Letterkenny University Hospital after months of closure.
Charlie McConalogue, Fianna Fail TD has urged the Minister for Health to urgently approve a funding request from LUH to reopen the ward.
The ward, which closed during the summer, would increase the hospital’s bed capacity from 330 beds to 350.

“Management at LUH is seeking an investment of just under €2 million, which would fund the reopening and staffing of this much needed short stay ward.

“This is a relatively small investment, in a hospital which has been the victim of chronic underfunding over the past number of years. The HSE needs to recognise this and urgently approve this request.” he added.
At present, LUH sees over capacity of on average 20 beds daily. Deputy McConalogue highlighted that the increased bed capacity in the hospital would ease the pressure on the hospital, which he claims is ‘creaking at the seams.’
“It is now the norm, rather that the expectation for patients to be left waiting in the Emergency Department because there are no beds in the wards available.


“Over the last few years, we have seen the full capacity protocol implemented numerous times, with patients being advised to stay away from the hospital unless completely necessary. This is simply not acceptable.” Deputy McConalouge continued.
In a response, Sean Murphy, General Manager at LUH, said the 19 bed short stay ward in LUH closed recently due to the commissioning of two newly refurbished wards, namely CCU with eight beds and haematology/oncology with 11 beds.

“LUH has submitted a proposal to Saolta under the Critical Unmet Need & Winter Surge initiative for funding to re-open the beds which would increase the in-patient bed capacity in the hospital from 330 up to 350 beds. “This bid is made on the basis of analysis of historical activity data in LUH over the past two years which show an ongoing deficit of on average 20 beds to address both full capacity issues and scheduled care admissions.” Mr Murphy said.

He went on to say the hospital are awaiting a decision in the coming weeks and the beds could come on line in one month post approval to proceed.
The reopening of the short stay unit would include 15 Staff Nurses, four Health Care Assistants, one clerical administration staff member and four support staff to include catering and cleaning staff.

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