Letterkenny gets interim emergency unit

New facility flooded at Donegal hospital may open for general admissions today

An interim emergency department for general admissions at Letterkenny General Hospital may open today.

An interim emergency department for general admissions at Letterkenny General Hospital may open today.

Mon, Aug 19, 2013, 01:24

An interim emergency department for general admissions at Letterkenny General Hospital may open today.

The emergency unit, which contains prefabricated and existing buildings at the old wing of the hospital, opened on Saturday.

However, only a small number of ambulance-only admissions arrived at the hospital which was hit by floods three weeks ago.

Up to 70 per cent of the footprint of the hospital was covered in water following a spell of torrential rain.

The hospital hopes to increase capacity today to take most cases, including self-presentation cases, from north Donegal.

Patients will continue to be taken to Sligo General Hospital from south Donegal until at least midweek.

Diversions to Letterkenny will be increased throughout next week and the following week until all Donegal patients are cared for in Letterkenny.

A spokesman for HSE West confirmed it was hoping to increase general admissions by as early as today.

“The system has been tested over the weekend with a limited number of ambulance admissions. It is possible that the emergency department will be opened to general admissions as early as Monday but a decision has yet to be made on that.

“The fact that we are even talking about having such a unit open just three weeks after the flood is a testament to the staff and their hard work,” said the spokesman.

General manager of the hospital, Sean Murphy, paid tribute to staff and contractors for having the facility ready to introduce an emergency department once again.

“To be here after 21 days and being able to announce this is a fantastic achievement and I want to pay tribute to all the staff and all the contractors who have worked so hard to get to this stage.”

He said a number of local contractors had worked 24/7 to get the interim emergency department up and running.

Patients will be taken into the hospital via the old emergency entrance. New traffic and parking restrictions will come into place to allow this.

Mr Murphy said staff were ready for the changes over the next few days and additional support would be on site to make the contingency plans work. He also announced that mobile catering facilities for staff and patients would be on site in two weeks.

“I want to thank the public, our staff and all those who have given us so much support for the past three weeks,” said Mr Murphy.