The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has claimed that patient care will be compromised at Letterkenny General Hospital by a cost-containment proposal issued by the HSE this week.

The union says that the plans, which are due to come into effect next Monday, would see a reduction of theatre activity and day surgery by five sessions each a week.

They would include a reduction of two endoscopy sessions a week, the closure of eight surgical beds on the orthopaedic ward and the cessation of minor surgery in the community outreach clinic.

It would also mean the closure of the short-stay/overflow ward.

The union claims that the reduction in services is a direct consequence of contractsfor 14 newly-qualified nurses not being renewed.

It says it will result in increased waiting lists, more patients on trolleys and longer periods on trolleys for patients in the hospital’s emergency department.

The INMO says the proposals may also lead to the cancellation of clinics and significantly reduce the presence of nursing professionals in outpatient clinics.

INMO Industrial Relations Officer Regina Durcan called on Minister for Health James Reilly to prevent the loss of frontline posts in order to maintain adequate services to the people of Letterkenny and its environs.

She said the union will be referring the issue to the Labour Relations Commission.

A new medical block including a state-of-the-art emergency department recently opened at Letterkenny General Hospital.