By Rachel McLaughlin: IT will cost €10M to rebuild Letterkenny General Hospital, a public meeting in the town was told today.
The figure is substantially less than the estimates put forward recently.
But it still represents half of the cost of the new Emergency Department destroyed in July’s flood.
The HSE hospital group meeting also confirmed details of an engineer’s report published by Donegal Daily last month which showed that 57mm of rainfall in just 15 minutes caused the damage.
The second public meeting of the Board of the West/North West Hospitals Group has been taking place at the Mount Errigal Hotel.
The €10M cost will help restore 11 areas at the hospital after 70% of its capacity was wiped out in the disaster.
Areas affected included the Coronary Care Unit, Emergency Department, Radiology Department, Haematology Oncology Ward, Kitchen & Dining Facilities, Laboratory, Main Out-Patient Department, Cardiac Investigations ad Medical Records & Office Accommodation.
The design team has already been appointed and the scope of works identified. This has been carried out in parallel with the installation of temporary facilities such as the temporary ED and radiology departments.
Within a month of the flood the diversion arrangements effected by the Emergency Department were stood down. The re-build of Emergency Department will be completed around the end of the first quarter in 2014 with the overall re-building project finishing by autumn 2014.
“The flooding at Letterkenny General Hospital is regarded as the most significant disaster in the history of the state in the Acute Sector. We will ensure that the new buildings are restored in line with current standards in patient care, resulting in improvements in a number of areas,” hospital group boss Bill Maher said.
The rebuilding works will include a new culvert costing approximately €250,000. A planning application has been submitted to Donegal County Council and it is expected that construction will start before year-end. The HSE and the West/North West Hospital Group is considering a report into the existing culvert and the flooding and it is expected that this will be published shortly.
Mr Seán Murphy, General Manager at Letterkenny General Hospital, told the meeting that they are hoping to resume virtually all services at the hospital in the coming weeks but that they expect that it will be some months before they return to pre-flood conditions.
“Unfortunately, service capacity and flexibility will remain disrupted as we continue to rely on temporary and offsite facilities and in-patient and out-patient waiting list targets at both Letterkenny and Sligo will be adversely affected and plans are being developed to address this,” he admitted.
Hospital group chair Noel Daly praised staff and local volunteers who worked to clean up the flood mess and thanked hospitals in the North for providing cover.
Tony O’Brien, Director General of the Health Service Executive insisted: “Letterkenny hospital will be strengthened not just by new and better infrastructure but by being part of the West/North West Hospital Group, enabling it to contribute to better integrated patient services.”
More to follow…