Temporary Emergency Department to open at Letterkenny General opens


The HSE has confirmed that a temporary Emergency Department will open on a phased basis at Letterkenny General Hospital starting tomorrow (Saturday).

The Emergency Department at the hospital has been out of commision    following serious flooding three weeks ago.

The temporary facility has been made possible by bringing mobile diagnostic equipment and temporary buildings onto the hospital site.

It will open at 10am.

Since the flooding all emergency cases that would normally be dealt with at Letterkenny General have been handled by Altnagelvin Hospital Derry,The Sligo Regional Hospital and at The Erne Hospital in Enniskillen.


The full HSE statement, including arrangements for the phasing in of the new unit is as follows –

The interim Emergency Department at Letterkenny Hospital is planned to reopen to ambulance admissions on a phased basis from 10.00 am on Saturday 17 August. Therefore patients should no longer attend Altnagelvin Hospital from 10.00 am on Saturday. Sean Murphy Hospital Manager briefed members of the media and public representatives today to announce the news and promote details of how the capacity of Emergency Department to treat patients will be extended over the coming weeks. 

The temporary radiology service has been commissioned and is now in place with a link to the main hospital.  This development was critical in enabling the hospital to provide emergency services. 

On Saturday the Emergency Department will be open to ambulance admissions ONLY from Letterkenny, Fanad and Inishowen areas.  Letterkenny Hospital Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Dr Sinead O’Gorman explained, “It is essential that the reintroduction of emergency admissions is carefully managed on a phased basis to ensure that all processes in this interim facility are appropriately brought on line and not overloaded by high volumes of patients.” 

It is planned that on Sunday the number of ambulance admissions will be increased and NoWDOC referrals from Letterkenny and Carndonagh will also be accepted. 

By early next week it is anticipated the ED will be open to self–presenting patients as well as ambulance and GP referrals from North West Donegal.  The decision to bring all patients back to Letterkenny will then be reviewed in light of how the interim services are functioning. Until that time, for any emergency requiring an ambulance please dial 112 or 999 as normal.  Non emergency patients should continue to contact their GP in the first instance. 

Bill Maher, Chief Executive of the West/North West Hospital Group says, “I am delighted that the interim Emergency Department is up and running for the people in the Letterkenny/Inishowen area.  I want to thank Sean Murphy, his team and all of the staff who have put in countless hours of work to reinstate this vital service to the people of Donegal.  

“The work that has been done is remarkable given the destruction the floods caused within the hospital.  I know that patients and their families were faced with longer drives to the alternate hospitals and this caused distress and inconvenience.  Our goal is to restore all of our services in a safe manner, as quickly as possible. The community spirit shown by our staff and local people is extremely commendable and I want to thank everyone who assisted their local hospital by volunteering and helping us to clear the flood waters.” 

Sean Murphy, Hospital Manager echoed those thanks and said, “The delivery of interim Radiology and Emergency Departments capable of managing the workload of Letterkenny Hospital within 21 days is an extraordinary achievement. I particularly want to thank all of our staff who have toiled long and hard to put the interim Emergency Department and all of the current services in place.  We are a long way from bringing our hospital back to its pre-flood condition but this is a huge step along the way. 

“I want to sincerely thank our colleagues in Sligo Regional Hospital, Altnagelvin Hospital and South West Acute Hospital (Enniskillen) for their support in treating our emergency patients.  Their co-operation was essential to our ability to maintain an emergency cover for the people of Donegal.  Our thanks must also go to our colleagues in the National Ambulance Service, Primary Care and Community Services for all of the resources, help and support that they provided and continue to provide.  I look forward to the continuing development of the hospital and to bringing all of our services back on line over the coming months.” 

Some minor local surgery is being carried out at the Scally Practice, Letterkenny and all patients for surgery will be contacted directly by the hospital either by telephone or by letter. Limited Inpatient and Day Case surgery is being re-introduced from Monday 19 of August 

Information links

Patients can get the latest information on www.hse.ie/letterkenny or from radio and press adverts.