Approval has been granted for a new Maternity Theatre at Letterkenny University Hospital to be put into use – almost two decades after it was built.

Saolta Hospital Group has confirmed that plans are underway to make the bespoke unit, which was constructed in 2000, fully operational in the future.  It’s understood that the HSE is now in the process of finalising the plans which will also include the sanctioning and recruitment of personnel to staff the suite.

Pearse Doherty TD

Deputy Pearse Doherty said the approval must be greeted with a cautious welcome.

“This news will no doubt be warmly received by not just hospital management, but also by its staff and of course by the women of Donegal who – for far too long – have been let down by the failure of successive governments to resolve this wasteful situation at the hospital,” Deputy Doherty said.

The Sinn Féin TD said the stalemate over the past two decades was ‘shameful’, adding:

“At a time when the hospital is under immense pressure to treat patients given the lack of available resources and other problems caused by historic and ongoing underinvestment, it is simply unbelievable to think that a modern facility has been lying idle on our doorstep for nearly twenty years and never used.

“The fact that the bespoke maternity theatre was never opened has meant that while LUH has a total of five In-patient operating rooms, only three are in regular use. This is because the maternity theatre was never commissioned, while the hospital is obligated to keep at least one theatre free at all times in the event of a patient requiring an emergency C-Section.”

The Deputy added that he was hopeful that, following the sanctioning of the suite by the HSE, patients and staff can use the facility in the not too distant future.

“I, together with Senator MacLochlainn, pledge to now continue to pursue this issue over the coming weeks and months as we intend to honour the commitment that we made to the people of Donegal when we started this campaign which was that we will not stop lobbying government until this facility is opened for the women of this county,” Doherty concluded.