Temporary oncology appointment not a full time solution – Doherty

Donegal Deputy Pearse Doherty is welcoming confirmation that Letterkenny University Hospital’s Oncology Department is once again accepting new chemotherapy referrals.

However, the Sinn Fein Finance Spokesperson has said that despite locum cover having been secured for the next four weeks, the service will not be continual as the temporary oncologist will only be available for a limited number of days.

In recent weeks, new patients were being sent to Galway because an oncologist was not available.

A locum is due to start at the hospital on Monday March 6th, and last evening, the HSE said that temporary cover has been secured for the intervening period.

However, Pearse Doherty says he understands that the person providing this temporary cover has only been scheduled to work for a very limited number of days for some of the weeks in question.

He says this means that patient cover will not be continuous, and patients will continue to experience service disruption.

He's now written to the Minister for Health looking for guarantees that the patients who have been referred to Galway can, if necessary, receive radiotherapy at the new unit in Derry.

He's also asking the HSE for details of when it was known that his vacancy would occur, and how this disruption was allowed to happen.