Sinn Féin Launches Campaign to Reopen Short Stay Ward at Letterkenny University Hospital
Donegal Sinn Féin has today (Monday) launched a campaign demanding the reopening of Letterkenny University Hospital’s 19 Bed Short Stay Ward.
The initiative, which was launched this morning at the hospital by Senator Pádraig MacLochainn, Deputy Pearse Doherty and a number of local Sinn Féin Councillors, sees the roll out of a petition as well as a dedicated cross-platform media campaign calling on the Government to reopen the facility in a bid to alleviate the ongoing trolley crisis.
At the launch this morning, the party appealed to the public to get behind the initiative which it believes needs the support of the people of Donegal in order to achieve its objectives.
Speaking at this morning’s launch, Deputy Doherty said:
“This is first and foremost a people’s campaign which needs buy in from the public if we are to be successful, and I have little doubt that the people of Donegal will rise to the occasion and answer that call.
“Last year, Letterkenny University Hospital experienced some of the highest levels of hospital overcrowding witnessed anywhere in the state.
“According to the INMO, 4,889 patients were forced to lie on trolleys and chairs at the hospital’s chaotic Emergency Department.
“When we break those numbers down and examine them in the context of the total number of days for which records are compiled, we can work out that, on average, 19 people languished on trolleys at the hospital every single day throughout 2017.
“While these statistics are of course horrifying, they are made all the more incomprehensible given the fact that only mere metres away the hospital’s 19 Bed Short Stay Ward remains closed.
“This means that there are 19 beds which, instead of being used to accommodate these sick patients waiting on trolleys, are laying empty – that’s simply unforgiveable.
“And despite repeated calls by Senator MacLochlainn and I for the Government to provide the necessary staffing and other resources required to have these beds brought back into use, the Government has failed time and time again to act.
“Meanwhile, the hospital’s Emergency Department is in a constant state of chaos.
"Staff working there are over run as they struggle to cope with growing demand, and ultimately patients continue to needlessly suffer.
“This is why my party colleagues and I here in Donegal have decided to take action and today we are launching our campaign to have the hospital’s Short Stay Ward reopened.
“Central to this initiative is a petition which the public are asked to sign which calls on the Minister to immediately reopen these 19 beds, and this petition is available online while party activists will also be out and about in their communities gathering signatures on hard copies of the petition as well.
“To compliment this project, we’ve also put together a powerful multi-media, cross-platform campaign to help raise awareness for what we are trying to achieve.
“The party has also produced a number of billboards and posters to help generate momentum behind this important campaign because it is our ultimate goal to have these beds reopened and to bring an end to the trolley crisis at LUH.”
Also commenting at the launch this morning, Senator MacLochlainn said:
“As many people will know, I have been consistently raising the issue of the Short Stay Ward in the Seanad over many months now, yet the Government has decided to ignore Sinn Féin’s calls for the reopening of these beds.
“And while an application was made last year by management at the hospital to request additional funding of €1.8M for staff and works which is needed to have the ward reopened, there has been no commitment from Government to make these resources available.
“In effect, they are telling the people of Donegal that this issue is not a priority for Government and that the overcrowding crisis at the hospital, which we see repeated day in and day out, is being allowed to continue – that’s shameful.
“And this crisis is having serious repercussions on other areas of the hospital also, with more than 17,670 patients now on waiting lists at LUH for in-patient and out-patient procedures and surgeries.
“However, the people of Donegal can see these evasions and this indifference clearly and they are demanding action now.
“That’s why my party colleagues and I are now inviting everyone from right across our county to take a stand and to please sign our petition because, by doing so, they are sending a clear message to Government that enough is enough.
“This is a campaign which we in Sinn Féin believe is achievable and is one which I have little doubt that the public will get behind.
“By working together we can help bring about an end to the trolley and overcrowding crisis at Letterkenny University Hospital and achieving this will truly represent a victory for the people.”