Letterkenny hospital A&E to reopen
Letterkenny General Hospital to accept only ambulance cases initially, with full service reinstated by midweek
Letterkenny General Hospital hopes to increase capacity by Monday to take most cases from north Donegal, including self-presented cases. Photograph: Trevor McBride
Letterkenny General Hospital, which suffered severe flood damage last month, is to open an interim emergency department tomorrow.
The hospital has been unable to accept patients in recent weeks, with people being sent to Sligo General hospital and Altnagelvin hospital in Derry.
Up to 70 per cent of the footprint of the hospital was under water at one stage during the flooding caused by heavy rain.
General manager Seán Murphy said it would begin to take a small number of ambulance-only admissions from 10am tomorrow. These will be increased on Sunday, with up to 40 per cent of ambulance-only cases being admitted.
The hospital hopes to increase capacity by Monday to take most cases from north Donegal, including self-presented cases.
Patients will continue to be taken to Sligo from south Donegal until at least midweek, with diversions to Letterkenny increasing throughout next week and the following week until all Co Donegal patients are being cared for in Letterkenny.
“I’m thrilled,” said Mr Murphy. “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 original emergency entrance. New traffic and parking restrictions will come into place to allow this.
Mobile catering facilities
Mr Murphy 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,” he said.
Under the phased introduction, patients are asked not to present themselves at the hospital until Monday.
Health Service Executive communications director Paul Connors said an engineer’s interim report on the flooding three weeks ago has been completed.