Emergency Department at LGH should reopen in March

Hospital Manager Sean Murphy
Hospital Manager Sean Murphy

It will cost 15 million euro to rebuild and restore services at Letterkenny General Hospital folllowing the summer flooding, and the same amount again is being spent on equipment and the costs associated with the provision of alternative services while the restoration is ongoing.
Speaking at a media briefing in the hospital this afternoon, General Manager Sean Murphy said out- patient services will be brought together in the Mc Ginleys building behind the Letterkenny Courthouse from eary next month, and the renovated Emergency Department should be ready by March.
He says the real process of rebuilding process is now starting……………

Picture 001
Renovations underway at Emergency Department
Renovations underway at Emergency Department

West/North West Hospitals Group Statement in full –
Mr Bill Maher, Chief Executive of the West/North West Hospitals Group and chair of the Letterkenny Hospital Rebuild Steering Group outlined progress to date:

In the immediate aftermath of the flood at the end of July, the focus was on restoring as many services as safely and quickly as possible. Within three weeks an interim Emergency Department and Radiology Department was up and running and most of the other services were restored at various locations around the hospital and in Letterkenny town and throughout Co Donegal in the following weeks.
The rebuild programme is a major undertaking involving a number of projects being worked on simultaneously, prioritising key patient areas.
As previously stated, 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.
The following is an update on key developments.
Emergency Department (ED) and Acute Medical Assessment Unit (AMAU)
This is one of the highest priority areas and work commenced on site on November 11 with an expected completion date of March 2014. The interim ED facility continues to work to the same capacity as pre-flood. Services at the AMAU continue to be constrained as it has just five patient bays, a reduction from the eleven previously available.
Pharmacy, Cardiac Investigations, Pulmonary Investigations and the Floor B corridor
Work also commenced on these areas on November 11 with an expected completion date of February 2014. These services continue to be fully operational from interim facilities on site.
Currently there are up to 40 clinics every week taking place in temporary locations within the hospital or around the town and county. This is very inconvenient for patients and not very efficient as the staff, records, and clinical supplies are required to move from one location to another. It was decided to source offsite accommodation for the Outpatients Department for a period of two years while the long-term plan for the restoration of the OPD onsite is progressed.
Following a detailed and exhaustive evaluation process, a location was selected and work is underway at the Court House Building in Letterkenny to prepare it for clinical use. The building will be handed over to the hospital 02 December and we plan to conduct all outpatient clinics that are currently offsite from this new location from 09 December.
Gynecology/ambulatory care
This has been completed and services re-commissioned. The new facilities represent a considerable improvement on the previous environment including the provision of an additional eleven inpatient beds to help manage peak flow in the temporary Emergency Department.
The HSE’s National Capital Steering Group has approved the development of a multipurpose radiology interventional suite, a diagnostic X-ray guided facility for the diagnosis and treatment of multiple illnesses including cardiac, gastrointestinal, orthopaedic and oncological diseases This suite will be a significant enhancement of LGH’s pre-flood capacity enabling us to diagnose more patients locally who previously would have had to travel to Galway or Dublin.
Radiology continues to be provided on site from two mobile CT scanners and plans are being finalised to resume an MRI service onsite (currently provided by the Northwest Clinic at Ballykelly).
Other projects
Work on the remainder of the key areas are at various stages of development – scoping, design and tendering. These include the kitchens and dining room, medical records department, offices, chapels, mortuary and boiler house and utilities ducting tunnels.
Flood management
As previously advised, we have improved interim arrangements in place at the culvert with additional monitoring and clearing. This includes the location of a digger onsite and access on a 24-hour basis to a roster of drivers. The culvert is monitored by CCTV and water monitoring equipment.
The rebuilding works will include a new culvert costing approximately €250,000. A planning application has been submitted to Donegal County Council.
Internal flood management measures such as flood doors are also being designed into the new building works. A detailed flood management strategy involving the culvert and buildings is being finalised by HSE Estates.
The indicative budget for the rebuild works is in excess of €15m and overall costs will exceed €30m when equipment and contingency costs are taken into account.
Discussions are ongoing with insurers.
The rebuild project is complex and it will take time for all the pieces of the jigsaw to come together. The goodwill demonstrated to the hospital and staff in the immediate aftermath of the flood was outstanding and I am asking all our patients to bear with us while we restore services to their rightful locations within the hospital.
We greatly appreciate the ongoing support and cooperation of local officials and public representatives.
National Commitment
Reflecting the West/North West Hospital Group’s and the national commitment endorsed by the Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly, to the full reinstatement of all clinical services, the Letterkenny Hospital Rebuild Steering Group meets on a fortnightly basis. This steering group is comprised of senior hospital and group management and clinical staff, members of the design team and HSE Estates, including Mr Jim Curran, the HSE National Director of Estates.