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Donegal's hospital waiting list is yet another damning indictment of government neglect - MacLochlainn

18 December, 2006


1158 AT LETTERKENNY GENERAL HOSPITAL IS THE HIGHEST WAITING LIST IN THE COUNTRY

Sinn Féin candidate for Donegal North East, Cllr Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has responded to the news that Letterkenny General Hospital (LGH), has the highest numbers of adult patients waiting for treatment for over 12 months in the entire country by stating that "this is yet another damning indictment of the Government neglect of Donegal".

A report in this week's Sunday Independent reported that there are at least 1,158 adults waiting more than 12 months for treatment in LGH, twice as many patients as the next hospital in the list, Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore where 575 adults are waiting a year for an operation.

Cllr Mac Lochlainn said:

"This news shatters the recent spin from some of the Government TDs in Donegal that their Government is delivering on health to our county. The reality is that this winter, Donegal patients will have their dignity removed by being treated on a hospital trolley rather than a bed. Cancer patients in Donegal will continue to come second best to cancer patients elsewhere on the island and if that wasn't enough, we now have these damning statistics".

"The Government promised that patients would not have to wait over 3 months and established the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) to allow public patients avail of treatment in private hospitals or overseas. They did this to compensate for their historic failure to improve the efficiency of our health services. This Government would rather pay private hospitals inflated fees for providing treatment than deliver an efficient quality public health system. My fear is that Health Minister Mary Harney will now use these figures to further enhance her privatisation agenda".

"I predict that rather than accepting that they have failed Donegal, our Government cheerleading TDs in Donegal will now try and use these waiting list figures to justify handing huge amounts of public money to wealthy investors to build a private hospital in Letterkenny. This would be the final insult to those public hospital staff that have heroically tried to provide a decent service despite bad faith and at times outright hostility over the years from various Governments and more recently from their friends in the HSE. The facts are that unless you are able and willing to pay the double taxation of health insurance in Donegal, you will have to wait. This is a local and national scandal. Patients are entitled to health services on the basis of need not on how much money they can pay either directly or indirectly through taxation". ENDS

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