With confusion and uncertainty surround the future of the Gynae services, 10 key questions have been put to John Hayes the Area Manager for the north west. Below are his answers.
Q1. Will there be a Gynae Service at Letterkenny Hospital?
A1. Yes. It is proposed to move the Gynae inpatient beds from their current location to a dedicated all female area within the Surgical 2 ward at Letterkenny General Hospital (LGH). This means a reduction in bed numbers by five, and not the loss of the Gynae Service.
Q2. Why does the Gynae Ward have to change?
A2. We are trying to open a new building which consists of a new Emergency Department (ED), a new Acute Medical Assessment Unit and 3 Medical Wards. The current ED and medical wards are not fit for purpose and it is important that we move into this new building, and have the adequate staff to deliver services. To enable staff to move to emergency and medical units in this new building, we will need to reduce the Gynae service by five beds.
Q3. Where will Gynae be situated?
A3. In two six-bedded areas which will be dedicated on Surgical 2 to women requiring the Gynaecology service. These two six-bedded areas will have 12 beds within them and will be exclusively for women. One bay will be dedicated to women requiring the gynaecology service and will include an emergency bed for patients following miscarriage; the 2nd bay will be dedicated to female surgery patients.
Q4. Will I be in a mixed sex ward?
A4. No. The two bays are female only and are the second and third bays from the entrance to the ward. Therefore, women do not have to pass by male bays to access this area.
Q5. Can I have a single room if needed?
A5. Yes. If a single room is required, this will be accommodated.
Q6. Will I be able to have a female nurse?
A6. Yes. As with all patients their choice of the gender of their nurse will be honoured.
Q7. When will these changes happen?
A7. Once there is agreement following consultation under the Public Service Agreement Process.
Q8. How will you ensure privacy and dignity?
A8. Privacy and dignity is a priority for all patients. Two six-bedded all female areas will be dedicated on Surgical 2 to women requiring the Gynae service. These two six-bedded areas will have 12 beds within them and will be exclusively for women traditionally admitted to the Gynae ward. If a single room is required, this can also be accommodated.
Q9. What care will women receive following miscarriage?
A9. Women require physical, psychological, emotional and at times spiritual care following miscarriage. This will continue to be available to our patients within the surgical ward. A single room will be made available if required as is the current case. With the opening of the new medical wards, there will be an additional 48 single rooms throughout LGH which will relieve the pressure on access to all single rooms, including those on Surgical 2. One emergency bed will be maintained at all times within the dedicated female bays or side rooms.
Q.10. What is the future for the Gynae service at LGH?
High quality gynaecological services will continue to be provided by the Gynaecological Team at LGH. Significant developments have taken place in the Gynaecology Department in recent months, including a new admission process to ensure that gynaecology patients get admitted to the hospital on the day of their surgery and which guarantees their admission. This has reduced the number of beds required, as patients are no longer admitted a day or two days in advance of their surgery. A fourth Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist has been appointed and will take up position shortly, further strengthening services in the hospital.