Local News 2010

BreastCheck now in Buncrana 29.11.10 Courtesy of www.inishowennews.com

DONEGAL Action for Cancer Care (DACC) is reminding all women in the BreastCheck screening age group that the service is starting in Buncrana this week.

The BreastCheck screening age group is 50-64 years and DACC is encouraging all eligible women to ensure they are registered to avail of the "free lifesaving service". "If you are unable to make the date given, phone them and they will change it for you," said DACC chairperson, Betty Holmes. The contact number is Freephone 1800 45 45 55 or online at www.breastcheck.ie .

BreastCheck coming to Buncrana
08.10.10 Courtesy of www.inishowennews.com
A BreastCheck mobile screening unit will be based in Buncrana from the end of November, it's been confirmed. The National Cancer Screening Service confirmed yesterday that the county's second mobile unit would be located in the peninsula's largest town.BreastCheck has nearly completed screening more than 5,300 women living in South Donegal. The South Donegal unit will move to Letterkenny shortly.

300 cheers for local GPs

07.10.10 Courtesy of www.inishowennews.com
INISHOWEN'S massive contribution to the education of doctors trained at Trinity College Dublin is to be celebrated next Thursday.
A meeting, open to the public, will be held at Letterkenny General Hospital to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Trinity School of Medicine and to pay tribute to Co Donegal GPs and hospital doctors who have tutored the college's medical undergraduates over many years.
There are 24 GP tutors in Donegal - four of them based in Inishowen. They are Carndonagh-based GP, Dr John Madden, who is also the local coroner; Clonmany GP, Dr Frank Fogarty; Moville's Dr Don McGinley and Newtown-based Dr Eamon Shea.
Event spokesperson, Dunfanaghy-based Dr Paul Stewart yesterday extended a warm welcome to the local public.
"This is an open meeting and we are particularly keen to get people to come along. It will be an interesting and informative evening and there shouldn't be too much medical speak," he said.
Dr Stewart said the county has had a long tradition of medical tutoring, with GPs from
Dr Don McGinley
Inishowen and elsewhere in Donegal, accounting for half of all tutors who work with Trinity undergraduates.
Like their colleagues, the four Inishowen GPs each take Trinity undergraduates on a regular basis. Dr Stewart said the experience gained locally was invaluable to the education of future doctors. Dr Stewart will deliver one of four short presentations on the night. His topic will explore the question: 'House Calls - A Thing of the Past?' Letterkenny consultant physician, Dr Ken Mulpeter will deliver a talk on 'Stroke Care in 2010'; Trinity fourth year undergraduate, Rory Stewart, will ask how effective are
Irish Medicines Board safety warnings while Aranmore Island's Dr Kevin Quinn, will deliver a talk entitled, 'William Smyth, a Local Hero'.
The meeting will be chaired by the head of Trinity School of Medicine, Professor Dermot Kelleher, who said: “We are extremely fortunate to have world-class medical teachers who are committed to make a difference and contribute tremendously to educating future doctors and allied healthcare professionals in Donegal." The public meeting will take place in Letterkenny Hospital's main conference room on Thursday, October 14, from 6pm-8pm and refreshments will be served.

Northern health minister casts doubt over Altnagelvin cancer unit

Posted: 1/Oct 14:40
Last Updated: 1/Oct 14:40 Courtesy of Highland Radio

The North’s Health Minister has cast doubt over a previous announcement that a new radiotherapy unit at Altnagelvin would be up and running by 2015.Michael McGimpsey announced proposals for the unit two years ago however he now says that the delivery of the scheme was dependent on the outcome of budget negotiations with Finance Minister Sammy Wilson.The Irish government has already committed funding to the project which would provide cancer services for patients on both sides of the border.Foyle MP Mark Durkan hopes the unit is not being used as budget lever by Michael McGimpsey: To hear interview please click on this link www.highlandradio.com/2010/10/01/northern-health-minister-throws-doubt-over-altnagelvin-cancer-unit/

Health forum meeting costs tax payers 8,000 euro

The Regional Health Forum meetings where local Councillors get the opportunity to put forward their concerns to HSE representatives costs the tax payer 8,000 euro.Donegal County Councillor, a member of the forum said they were told that this figure represents the cost of each meeting.He branded it a waste of money as he claims Councillors were subjected to “waffle” from HSE officials.Plans to cut 7,000 temporary staff hours a week, and to introduce new controls on absenteeism and sick leave were outlined in a bid to trim 12 million euro off the budget deficit every month – until the end of the year – in order to break even.Councillor Mc Brearty said he does not accept that this will not devastate frontline services. 29TH September Courtesy of Ocean Fm news

McBrearty left raging after healthcare motion adjourned

Published Date: 30 September 2010  By Staff reporter  Courtesy of The Donegal Democrat

Donegal County Councillor Frank McBrearty Jnr has said "he has never been as angry" after a motion he brought before council on HSE cuts to services was adjourned before being passed. Cllr. McBreaty’s motion was adjourned at the end of Monday’s meeting which ended in disarray. Councillors had been debating whether to suspend standing orders to allow the meeting to run after 6pm. As the debate continued Cllr. McBreaty angrily declared that the motion “had become a joke”. His outburst provoked laughter from some councillors, which further angered Cllr. McBrearty. “We are making a joke of this country. People are dying of cancer and waiting seven years for hip replacements,” he shouted.
Mayor Cllr. Cora Harvey then adjourned the meeting. Speaking afterwards Cllr. McBrearty said he was enraged by what had happened. “I was raging, I was never as angry for a long, long time, and I fought the state for 14 years,” he said.
“Some people in the chamber were making this into a joke and I don’t take it lightly, people who are suffering from serious illness in this county being threatened with cutbacks.”
Speaking during the meeting in Lifford, Cllr Frank McBrearty said if the government was serious about protecting jobs in Donegal they had to provide the necessary resources to allow services to be maintained.
“The people have spoken with marches on the street and the hospital has taken on additional work in the oncology and breastcare services area yet there are plans to make over €8million in cutbacks. It is time the Oireachtas members in Donegal fought for the people they represent,” he said.“There was cross party support for the marches against the cutbacks but our elected TDs now have to act. The government must give a commitment that services at Letterkenny General Hospital, Lifford Community Hospital and the Shiel Hospital in Ballyshannon be safeguarded from cutbacks and save jobs and the services which are threatended by the inhumane government cutbacks,” he added.


The emergency motion was supported by Fianna Fil party whip Cllr Ciaran Brogan but he asked Cllr McBrearty to withdrawn the word ‘inhumane’.“I have no difficulty supporting the motion if the amendment is made. Letterkenny should be upgraded to Regional Status given the development in a range of services such as Breastcare, Oncology, Cardiology, and Rehabilitation,” he said.
“Services will be hit if the cuts are imposed but there are developments going on such as the new €23million extension which is due to open in the New Year and also a €6million Mental Health Unit but due to our geopgraphy it is vital we have regional status,” Cllr Brogan added.
Sinn Fin Cllr Mick Quinn ‘wholeheartedly’ agreed with the motion and described the cutbacks as a form of ‘ethnic cleansing’
I’m calling on the Oireachtas members in Donegal to seek an emergency meeting with the Minister for Health to ensure the services here are retained or withdraw their support altogether from the government,” he said. Our TDs need to stand up for the people of Donegal who voted for them and hit back against these harsh cuts,” he said.

Dad's alive today because he quit smoking'

Published Date: 26 September 2010  By Connie Duffy Courtesy of Donegal on Sunday

'Dad's alive today because he quit smoking', declared Deirdre McBride when she talked this week about the Letterkenny General Hospital Smoking Cessation Programme.

A report dealing with its activities between 2007 – 2009 confirms that people who join the Donegal Smoking Cessation Service are ten times more likely to quit than those who try to quit alone.The HSE Smoking Cessation Service in Donegal is a free and confidential service available at 14 clinic locations throughout the county. The service can be accessed directly by ringing the information line on 1850 200 687 or through local healthcare staff including GPs, Practice Nurses and Pharmacists.

The programme is delivered by specialists who are experts in treating people with an addiction to tobacco. Everyone is different, so an individual assessment is carried out in consultation with each client and the level of support and treatment is agreed which may include Nicotine Replacement Therapy, Champix or Zyban.Every 6.5 seconds someone in the world dies from using tobacco; 1.5 million people die in the prime of their life each year, losing approximately 22 years of life. In Ireland, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death, with nearly 7,000 people dying every year and thousands left suffering with tobacco-related illnesses including respiratory illness, heart disease and cancers. These are compelling reasons to quit smoking.Elaine Robinson, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Smoking Cessation Service at Letterkenny General Hospital advises: "Quitting can be difficult but it's not impossible. Those who are successful challenge their smoking by measuring what they get out of it, against what they have lost or risk losing by smoking tobacco. Most find the benefits of quitting outweigh the benefits of continuing to smoke.""Quitting won't cost anything but will save money! If you or a family member quits smoking you will have an extra €260 per month, €3,100 per year and over €31,000 in 10 years based on buying 20 cigarettes a day. This would pay for a lovely family holiday season. We look forward to welcoming you to the service and to supporting you in your attempt to quit smoking,", remarked Fiona Boyle, Donegal Community Smoking Cessation Advisor.

James Doherty from Kilmacrennan has successfully quit smoking for over a year with support from the Letterkenny General Hospital Smoking Cessation Programme. "Elaine encouraged me to continue attending the service even when I thought I was a lost cause. If I'd have known it was going to be this easy, I'd have come to Elaine sooner," he said.Deirdre McBride, James's daughter commented on how this service has helped her dad and the importance of the service.

"Three years ago Dad couldn't dance at my wedding, now he's attending the Pulmonary Rehabilitation programme at the hospital to help him get fit. He's alive today because he quit smoking; the ongoing help he got from Elaine, encouraged Dad to believe in himself, and now he's quit smoking for good.

Hospital clinics disrupted 29.09.10
CLINICS at Letterkenny General Hospital were hit yesterday after a busy Monday night saw an overspill of 12 patients to the outpatients department. Figures from the Irish Nurses Organisation (INO) also showed there were 13 people being treated on trolleys at the hospital yesterday.

The disruption resulted in the medical clinics of Dr Bannon and Dr Keatings being closed yesterday as well as Dr Considine's Ear, Nose and Throat outpatients' clinic. Dr McKenna's dermatology clinic went ahead as planned. Patients were urged to only attend A&E if it 'absolutely necessary'.

Courtesy of www.inishowennews.com

Consultants want funding for frontline care

[Posted: Wed 15/09/2010 - www.irishhealth.com]

The HSE is planning to take around 17% of hospital beds out of the system, according to the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA).The IHCA, in a pre-Budget submission, says acute hospital bed numbers were cut by 900 last year and a further 1,100 are due to be closed this year.It says these reductions were to be facilitated on the basis that community and co-located private hospital beds would be increased significantly to reduce demand for acute beds; however, this has not happened.

The IHCA says the reduction in acute beds is therefore leading to much reduced capacity in hospitals in the face of increasing demand, and theatre closures too, have added to capacity problems.The Association noted that waiting lists for hospital treatment have increased and that although the HSE does not produce official figures on them, outpatient waiting times are growing in many specialties as demand increases.

The IHCA has called on the Government to increase funding for front line acute hospital and mental health services.

It says Budget provision should be made to pay for a halving of the waiting lists for hospital inpatient and day case services.

3,000 waiting for hospital treatment

Just under 3,000 adult and children are waiting for treatment in the North West’s two hospitals.According to the Health Service Executives latest performance report there are 46,400 people nationwide awaiting inpatient care and day case procedures.

Between Sligo and Letterkenny General Hospitals there were 2,901 children and adults awaiting inpatient care and day case procedures in July.While near neighbour University College Hospital Galway accounts for over 6,000 of the 46,400 patients waiting nationwide.

Nationally the statistics represent an increase of over 5,400 patients, compared with the same time last year.In Sligo General Hospital 599 adults and children were waiting for inpatient care with 766 for day case procedures.While in Letterkenny 1068 were waiting for day case procedures and 468 inpatient care.The highest number of cases were newly referred patients which are those waiting less than three months and are not normally included in the waiting list figures.Galway University Hospitals, the Mater and Beaumont Hospital’s in Dublin and, Cork University Hospital had the largest waiting lists.

Courtesy of Ocean Fm

HPV programme rolled out in Donegal Courtesy of Ocean Fm Monday 13th Sept 2010

It’s understood students across the region will receive the cervical cancer vaccine from today.

The programme started in the North West in May, and visited one school in Sligo and one in Donegal.

Additional schools in some parts of the country were also included in the programme in July and earlier this month.

A spokesperson for the HSE says they are currently working to start the full national roll out of the HPV programme from this morning which includes schools in the North West region.

DACC marks five years of campaigning for cancer services!

Published Date: 29 June 2010  Courtesy of The Donegal Democrat

The chairperson of Donegal Action for Cancer Care (DACC) renewed the group's commitment to cancer patients in the county when the group marked its fifth anniversary recently. "Credit for all the great work does not belong to a few, but to everyone who has helped in any way, be it in the giving of their time, fundraising and donations, attending meetings, organising and distributing information for local meetings," said Betty Holmes, DACC chairperson. "We have all together contributed to our success."
She said among the group's achievements in the past five years was the awareness rally that drew 15,000 people to Letterkenny in May 2006 "from all walks of life, taking to the streets in a respectful and dignified manner. That day the people of Donegal gave DACC the mandate to work towards ensuring that cancer services are retained and developed at Letterkenny General Hospital and that we have access to world-class services to meet the needs of the people of Donegal." Betty said the group has also recently reprinted another 5,000 copies of its book, "Cancer – You Are Not Alone," making a total printing of 10,000 copies over three years.
"To the most important people of all, our cancer patients, we in Donegal Action for Cancer Care renew our commitment to you to work to ensure best quality care for you and access to world-class cancer services where possible at Letterkenny General Hospital," Betty said.
The DACC chairperson also credited the campaigning work of people who do not belong to DACC. "They too helped and have made a valuable contribution to this journey," she said.
The DACC chairperson said that four of the group's five original aims have been achieved, including the appointment of a full-time breast surgeon at Letterkenny General, the retention of breast cancer services at Letterkenny General, the construction of the new 70-bed accident and emergency unit in the hospital and the designation of funding for cancer patients and their families through the Travel to Care Project, administered through the Irish Cancer Society. The aim they are still working to achieve is radiotherapy services, Betty said. DACC is a voluntary organisation that was formed in April 2005 to campaign for cancer services on behalf of cancer patients, their relatives and carers. The group is led from a committee of representatives from local branches throughout the county.
DACC campaigns to ensure that Letterkenny General retains and develops its cancer services, and for Donegal patients, both public and private, to have equal and better access to those services.

New consultants for Letterkenny 25.0610

THE green-light has been given for the appointment of a number of specialist consultants to Letterkenny General Hospital, Deputy Niall Blaney has confirmed. He said Health Minister Mary Harney had informed him that an application has been submitted for the appointment of an endocrinologist/diabetologist with the post to be advertised in the coming months. Meanwhile, a haematologist, from overseas, is to be employed on an initial 12-month locum contract and is currently awaiting registration with the Irish Medical Council. Deputy Blaney has also been told that the potential for a podiatry service for the region is to be explored. I have been raising (constituents) concerns with Minister Harney for some time now, particularly through my role on the Dáil health committee. Minister Harney is aware of the pressing need for these appointments and I have been working with her to secure the positions for Letterkenny General Hospital, said Deputy Blaney

Courtesy of www.inishowennews.com

Cancer care Courtesy of Joe Mc Hugh TD Weekly newsletter Friday 11th June 2010
This week the Dáil developed legislation that will result in the closure of St. Luke™s Cancer Hospital in Dublin. Many Donegal cancer sufferers have received tremendous care at St.  Luke™s over the years. Hopefully the new services at St. James™s Hospital will retain its qualities.

Last Wednesday I ( Joe) contributed to the Dáil debate:

Struggling hospitals 'most at risk of cuts'

  • By Eilish O'Regan Tuesday May 11 2010 Courtesy of The Irish Independent

HOSPITAL emergency departments already struggling to cope with a shortage of junior doctors are most at risk of having to scale down their opening hours from July.

The stark warning was given by a senior medic last night after it emerged the Health Service Executive (HSE) is drawing up a contingency plan to scale down some A&E departments if it fails to find enough junior doctor staff.

Dr James Binchy, an emergency consultant in Galway, said those most at risk would be departments already short of staff. These include the emergency units in Naas General Hospital, Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe, Kerry General and Letterkenny General.The shortage of junior doctors is linked to a decision by more young medics to go abroad for training. There has been a reduction in posts recognised for training in hospitals here, which make them less attractive to many young medics.

22m hospital building to open this year

Posted online: May 6th, 2010 Courtesy of The Letterkenny Post

Letterkenny’s new “hospital within a hospital” is now beginning to take shape – and should be completed by the end of the year.
The new three-storey medical block – with a new Emergency Department – will cost €22 million, the Post can reveal.
There are currently approximately 140 construction personnel involved on site activities with significant local labour and sub-contractors also employed.
Anyone passing by the hospital on the Kilmacrennan Road will have noticed the new block in recent weeks.
The multi-million euro building will incorporate an Emergency Department, Medical Assessment Unit, and three floors of 24-bedded medical wards.
The Medical Assessment Unit contains 11 beds including isolation facilities.
The total floor area of the development is approximately 6,600 square metres.
The development, which is the largest capital development currently in the western region of the HSE, also includes a new waste facility and mortuary chapel that have already been completed.
The Emergency Department will have 20 patient treatment spaces, which include major and minor treatment cubicles and rooms, plaster bays, resuscitation spaces and a dedicated x-ray room for the emergency department, which will reduce transfer times of patients, and thus decreasing treatment times.
It is designed to cater for approximately 42,000 new attendances per annum, while the current attendance rate is approximately 30,000 per annum.
When the contract for the works was signed, Sean Murphy, Manager, Letterkenny General Hospital, commented that the development “will effectively be a new hospital in Letterkenny.”
The main contractor is is Michael McNamara & Co Ltd

Please click on this link for view of new A& E  www.letterkennypost.com/

Letterkenny's dramatic reduction in waiting lists

Published Date: 04 May 2010  By Staff reporter  Courtesy of The Derry Journal

Dramatic reductions in patient waiting list times have been achieved in Letterkenny General as a result of the National Treatment Purchase Fund.  Ms. Mary Harney, Minister for Health and Children, has acknowledged the dramatic reductions in waiting times at Letterkenny General Hospital over the last two years.
Speaking at the launch of the 2009 National Treatment Purchase Fund Annual Report last week, Minister Harney noted the huge success of the NTPF which has, to date, treated 170,000 public patients and reduced median waiting .

To read full article please click on this link to the Derry Journal website


LGH surgeons issue stark warning to GPs
By Harry Walsh Courtesy of Derry People Donegal news

FURTHER cutbacks in the health service this summer are expected to lead to more
and more patients waiting for joint replacements at Letterkenny General Hospital.
For full article please click on link to newspaper      www.nwipp-newspapers.com/DN/free/326720530648160.php

Deputy Blaney says more GPs are needed to avoid further hospital pressure

Posted: 11/Feb 11:27 Courtesy of www.highlandradio.com
Last Updated: 11/Feb 11:27

Deputy Niall Blaney, a member of the Oireachtas Committee on health has warned of longer hospital waiting lists and more pressure on emergency departments if GP training places are not expanded.Under the HSE’s Primary Care Strategy it is envisaged that local community care health facilities would meet up to 95% of patients needs thus taking pressure of the hospital system.

However Deputy Nial Blaney says that if this is to be achieved more GPs need to be trained up.

Killybegs Hospital praised by health inspectors

Published Date: 09 February 2010 Courtesy of The Donegal Democrat   By Staff reporter

An unannounced inspection of residential care provided at Killybegs Community Hospital has resulted in a glowing report all 'round. A team from the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), which carried out the inspection in September, concluded that care provided at the facility is “of a high standard” and that the residents’ medical, nursing and other healthcare needs a re “being appropriately addressed”.
The inspectors also praised staff who all showed “a positive commitment to comply with the Health Act 2007” and evidence of good relations with the residents.
Interviews with residents and families were uniformly positive. “Without exception, residents told inspectors that they felt well cared for. One resident said: ‘I am very happy here and the staff are very good to me’.”
The cleanliness, excellent maintenance and dcor of the centre also came in for praise, as did the food served to residents and the range of activities on offer to them.
Some improvements were suggested, including: scheduling regular fire drills; regulating the water temperature to prevent scalding and reviewing the ‘open door’ policy to ensure that residents with cognitive impairments would not be abel to leave the centre unescorted Welcoming the inspection report, John Hayes, HSE Donegal Local Health Manager said: “The Killybegs Community Hospital opened in 2001 and caters for up to 41 residents. It is a credit to all the staff in Killybegs to achieve such a positive report from an unannounced inspection.”

Top position for Carn born professor

Published Date: 26 January 2010 Courtesy of The Derry Journal

A Carndonagh born medic, Professor Cathal Kelly has taken up the role as CEO/Registrar of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) as Michael Horgan, who has been CEO/Registrar of the College for the past five years, retires.

A graduate and Fellow of the College, Professor Cathal Kelly has been a Consultant General and Vascular surgeon in Beaumont Hospital as well as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences in the College since 2006. Under his leadership RCS I’s Graduate Entry Programme (GEP) in Medicine was the first in Ireland to be accredited by the Higher Education Authority (HEA). More recently, the Undergraduate Medical programme underwent its second quality assurance evaluation within three years. RCSI achieved standards of excellence in over 60% of the listed World Federation of Medical Education categories.

Cathal Kelly completed his basic and higher surgical training in Dublin and pursued a research Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, USA. Professor Kelly has continued his academic development and earlier this year was awarded a Master of Business Administration by Instituto de Empressa of Madrid.

Professor Kelly is married to Ruth and has three children, Mary Kate, Caroline and Charlie.

Professor Frank Keane, President, RCSI commented, “Cathal has demonstrated the kind of strategic and collaborative leadership skills needed to support the delivery of our vision to become one of Europe’s leading Biomedical Sciences Institute. I am confident that Cathal and his leadership team will have the commitment, energy, drive and passion to lead RCSI to many successes in the future.”

Professor Frank Keane, President, RCSI commented, “Cathal has demonstrated the kind of strategic and collaborative leadership skills needed to support the delivery of our vision to become one of Europe’s leading Biomedical Sciences Institute. I am confident that Cathal and his leadership team will have the commitment, energy, drive and passion to lead RCSI to many successes in the future.”

Professor Kelly is a native of Tiernaleague, Carndonagh.

McHugh – hundreds of acute 'bed days' lost to flawed system

Published Date: 26 January 2010 By Staff reporter Courtesy of The Donegal Democrat

Joe McHugh, Fine Gael TD, said yesterday that the loss of 554 acute bed days at Letterkenny General Hospital last year highlighted flaws in the government's system of health services management. In the same way, Sligo General Hospital lost 2,107 acute bed days last year, he said.

Deputy McHugh said the loss of bed days resulted from delays in discharging patients from acute beds. He explained that the hospitals had been unable to discharge patients from the acute-care beds because the government had not sourced places for those convalescent patients in nursing homes and respite centres. He said the delays were also affected by what he called the government's failure to facilitate the provision of proper care for those patients in their homes.

"This crisis is entirely of the government's making," Deputy McHugh said. He said that there are 1,800 unoccupied nursing home beds in Ireland, beds that he said would be ideal for convalescent and respite care, and would enable hospitals to free up acute-care hospital beds.
"The government must urgently instruct the Health Service Executive (HSE) to start contracting some of the 1,800 unoccupied nursing home beds to properly accommodate people ready for discharge from acute hospital beds, but who need long-stay care," Deputy McHugh said.
He said the government must also tender among those beds for places that offer physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy services, "so that people can continue their recovery and ultimately come home."
Deputy McHugh said the government must also revisit its decision to cut carers' allowances.
"Many patients could be discharged from acute beds if they were to receive care in their own homes," he said. "The government must examine these proposals, because we cannot continue to lose beds in this manner."

Hospital urges visitor restrictions

Published Date: 21 January 2010 By Staff reporter

Letterkenny General Hospital is urging restrictions on hospital visitors due to the spread of the Norovirus, commonly known as the winter vomiting virus. Yesterday the hospital requested people to continue to adhere to the visiting ban, with the only exception being the parents of ill children and partners of women in the maternity ward.
Visitors are asked to respect where visitor restrictions are in place and should note that security staff at the hospitals are ensuring the restrictions are adhered to. Visitors are also advised that they must use the alcohol gel supplied as they enter and leave the hospital.

Fears as Donegal Community hospital coffee dock closed

Published Date: 14 January 2010 By Staff reporter  Courtesy of THe Donegal Democrat

The recent closure of the coffee dock at Donegal Community Hospital has caused concern among patients and their families. Several people, who do not wish to be named, contacted the Donegal Democrat this week expressing surprise and dismay at the loss of the facility.
One angry man commented: “The reason this facility was put in place was to enable patients and their families to have some refreshments when attending clinics at the hospital. No clinics are held at Killybegs Community Hospital so the people from Glencolumbkille, Carrick etc have to travel to Donegal, often leaving home very early in the morning, It was also of great benefit to the families of in-patients who often took their relatives to the Coffee Dock. It was seen as a social event for them which was very important, plus the HSE Staff also used the Coffee Dock on a regular basis.”
A spokesperson for the HSE said yesterday the reopening of the coffee dock has been deferred due to staffing difficulties. The spokesperson added: “It is hoped that these will be resolved shortly and the facility will be re-opened

Euro507,00 cash bonus for efficiency at LGH

Courtesy of Derrry People Donegal News Thursday 7th JAN.2010
LETTERKENNY General Hospital will receive a budget boost of just over half a million euro this year in recognition of its efficiency.
The money is provided under the HSE "casemix" system which penalises inefficient hospitals and redirects the money to those which are more efficient. Factors taken into account include the cost of treating patients with similar conditions in similar sized hospitals.
LGH is one of eight hospitals in the country which will receive between 500,00 and 1 million. The exact amount the hospital will receive is 507,869. The other hospitals in this category are Cork University Hospital which gets 989,531, Louth County Hospital 782,415, Waterford Regional Hospital 619,107, University College Hospital Galway 550,871, Cavan General Hospital 515,122, Rotunda Hospital 509,702, and the South Infirmary Victoria Hospital in Cork which gets 502,572.
By contrast to the financial boost for LGH Tallaght Hospital in Dublin is to have its budget cut by more than 2.6 million due to inefficiencies.
New figures published by the HSE this week showed that Tallaght Hospital was the worst-performing hospital under the system for the third year in a row.
LETTERKENNY General Hospital will receive a budget boost of just over half a million euro this year in recognition of its efficiency.
The money is provided under the HSE "casemix" system which penalises inefficient hospitals and redirects the money to those which are more efficient. Factors taken into account include the cost of treating patients with similar conditions in similar sized hospitals. LGH is one of eight hospitals in the country which will receive between 500,00 and 1 million. The exact amount the hospital will receive is 507,869. The other hospitals in this category are Cork University Hospital which gets 989,531, Louth County Hospital 782,415, Waterford Regional Hospital 619,107, University College Hospital Galway 550,871, Cavan General Hospital 515,122, Rotunda Hospital 509,702, and the South Infirmary Victoria Hospital in Cork which gets 502,572. By contrast to the financial boost for LGH Tallaght Hospital in Dublin is to have its budget cut by more than 2.6 million due to inefficiencies. New figures published by the HSE this week showed that Tallaght Hospital was the worst-performing hospital under the system for the third year in a row.

The other hospitals to be penalised most under the casemix system in 2010 include Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, which will have its budget cut by 1.79 million; Tullamore General Hospital which will have its budget slashed by 1.712 million; Limerick Regional, which will have its budget cut by 1.39 million and Loughlinstown hospital, Dublin, which has had its budget cut by 1.31 million. The only other hospital to have its budget cut by more than 1 million was Sligo General which faces a budget cut of 1.13 million. Overall nearly 14 million is being taken from 18 inefficient hospitals and redistributed among 21 efficient ones.

Best performers

The best-performing hospitals included Mullingar, Wexford, St James's Hospital, Dublin, St Luke's in Kilkenny and Mayo General. Mullingar hospital has been rewarded with 2.39 million. The HSE said the system aimed to redirect funds to hospitals which have demonstrated that additional funding will result in real benefits. "The budget adjustments which are based on hospital performances in 2008/09 are a reflection of each hospital's true performance against their peers taking account of each hospital's unique mix of cases and differing complexities. "Hospitals are not penalised for long-stay patients, neither are they rewarded for discharging patients too early. "The system is designed to take account of each hospital's unique issues and unique patients. As the HSE moves forward with plans for ever more evidence-based management, it is expected that casemix will play more of a central role in acute hospital funding and management practices," a HSE spokesperson said.

A tale of two hospitals . . .Victory in Letterkenny, defeat in Sligo

Published Date: 05 January 2010  By Staff reporter  Courtesy of The Donegal Democrat

Over the past year the provision of Cancer Services has been very much in the media spotlight with the rationalisation of the health services and the subsequent creation of eight Centres of Excellence specialising in Cancer treatment. Alarm bells rang when it transpired that all these Centres of Excellence were located south of a line from Galway to Dublin and Donegal and indeed the entire North West was being left in isolation.
Concerted campaigns were undertaken by both the D ACC and Save our Cancer Services in both Donegal and Sligo highlighting this anomaly with marchers taking to the streets and lobbyists canvassing politicians, medical practitioners and anyone who could exert any influence on this crucial situation.
Feelings were running high especially in South and West Donegal which resulted in two prominent Fianna Fail politicians, former junior Minister Jimmy Devins and Eugene Scanlon resigning the party whip and a particularly poor election outcome in the Local Elections in June.
The campaigners from the DACC led a quieter but most effective campaign utilising face-to-face meetings with the decision makers which eventually ensured a first class cancer service at Letterkenny General Hospital.

Betty Holmes of the DACC said, “When we heard about plans to rationalise the Health Service we new it was time to act.
“There was no point in sitting back waiting for bad it news, it was time to be pro-active.
“In 2007, we succeeding in persuading the Minister of Health to recognise ‘the unique geographic location of Donegal” and she made Letterkenny General Hospital (LGH) a satellite unit of University Hospital Galway (UCHG)

“As far as I am concerned this makes us, in effect, a Centre of Excellence for not only Donegal but the whole North West.
“We have a first class Cancer Unit in the hospital now which includes diagnostics, Surgery, Chemotherapy and a full multi-disciplanaty team with a satellite link-up to Galway.
“This provides the opportunity for consultants to further review and discuss the overall welfare of the patients and recommended procedures can be carried out here in Donegal.”
Having achieved this Donegal on Sunday asked Ms. Holmes “Where to now and do you feel that you have achieved all you set out to do?”

“We have a lot done but still more to do” she said. “We have put a proposal to Tony O’Brien the CEO of Breastcheck that when Breastcheck was rolled out in Donegal that patients should be referred to Letterkenny.

“This service has been in Donegal now since early September and we will be urging Mr. O’Brien to consider this situation with urgency. We have a state-of-the art Breast Cancer unit in LGH and cannot see the rationale of referring suffering patients to UCGH.

“This just adds up to inhumane treatment of people who are in severe pain and who physically and mentally are unable to undergo a journey of up to ten hours.

“After a lot of persuasion Professor Tom Keane did come and visit LGH and he was extremely impressed with the facility. So much so that we have now received recognition from Mr.Keane.

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