A Donegal consultant who said he has no work to do at Letterkenny General Hospital because of economic cutbacks has been asked to “look for solutions” instead of “always identifying problems”, by Irish Health Minister Mary Harney.
Senior orthopaedic consultant Peter O’Rourke, earns €225,000 a year, but earlier this week said that he had “nothing to do” because of cutbacks.
He claimed he was unable to carry out elective procedures at the hospital, such as hip and knee replacements, because the hospital had budgetary overruns.
“There are waiting lists for outpatient appointments at Letterkenny Hospital, perhaps that consultant and others could apply themselves to seeing those outpatients. I would appeal to the consultant in question to talk with the hospital, his colleagues in the hospital and hospital management to resolve whatever issues arise on the ground.
“I would urge everybody in this time of huge economic challenges to look at solutions and not to be always identifying problems,” Minsiter Harney said.
Ms Harney said there was no more money for the health service this year
“I would urge everybody that at this time of national and economic crisis, particularly with the flu pandemic and the challenges that poses to the health system, to look at finding solutions working on the ground.”
A spokeswoman for the Health Service Executive (HSE) said Letterkenny was legally obliged to remain within budget.
“Our orthopaedic surgeons carry out other work in the hospital as well as their joint replacement surgery and that will continue, e.g. emergency surgery, waiting list in-patient & day case surgery and seeing patients at out-patient clinics.”
The general manager of the hospital was working with the consultant to ensure time available due to deferral of the joint replacement procedures can be effectively reallocated to the benefit of patients, the spokeswoman said.