A Mayo GP has painted a distressing picture of the impact overcrowding at Mayo University Hospital and underinvestment at Belmullet Community Hospital is having on the health of patients.
Belmullet GP Dr Fergal Ruane has written to the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly outlining the harrowing case of a 95-year-old man who is suffering because of failures in the health system.
The patient developed an ulcer in his leg as a result of catheterisation for acute urinary retention. In normal circumstances, he would have been admitted to Belmullet District Hospital but no direct referrals are permitted there at present. Instead, the elderly patient was sent to Mayo University Hospital but instead of being admitted was catheterised and sent home.
Dr Ruane said “predictably” the man ran into trouble and now faces a lengthy wait to be seen in Galway.
A 90-year old man later presented with the exact same issue and the GP had little option but to send him home. Dr Ruane said another two patients who should have been able to receive treatment at Belmullet District Hospital are now “struggling at home”.
He said he fears the Belmullet hospital is being “wound down”.
“This situation has arisen due to years of underinvestment in the local hospital. To my mind and in the minds of the people of Erris this is deliberate and despite building plans having being drawn up there is little intention I can see of any significant will to advance the situation and the hospital is being wound down,” said Dr Ruane.