Minister officially opens Dungloe hospital extension

The new extension to Dungloe Community Hospital marks “an investment in the future of the hospital”, John Hayes, area manager for the Health Service Executive, said yesterday.

The new extension to Dungloe Community Hospital marks “an investment in the future of the hospital”, John Hayes, area manager for the Health Service Executive, said yesterday.

Dr. James Reilly, minister for health, was in Dungloe yesterday to officially open the 500,000 euro extension to the community hospital, which includes four single, high-dependency rooms with en-suite facilities, a patients’ dayroom, a new disabled toilet and a hairdresser’s room.

Earlier in the day, the minister also opened a new primary care centre in Glenties (see page 12).

The Dungloe extension was opened to patients in January, but the minister cut the ceremonial ribbon yesterday, facing the new enclosed garden, lined with soft-pour pathways, that sits between the new day room and the extension. Local fundraising and the Hospital Golden Jubilee Committee raised the money for the garden. Dr. Reilly said the community hospital forms the basis of the department’s policy, to bring services to the patient. The minister said he was in Dungloe to honour the staff and their commitment, “because that’s where it begins and that’s where it ends, with community.”

Dinny McGinley, minister of state for the Gaeltacht; Pat “the Cope” Gallagher, Fianna Fáil MEP, and Grainne Mhic Géidigh, Sinn Féin member of Údarás na Gaeltachta, accompanied the minister as walked through the hospital on his way to the new extension. They greeted staff and patients by name and the minister also shook hands and spoke with patients and staff as he walked through the building.

The local hospital, part of HSE Older Person Services, has 35 beds, including continuing-care beds and respite beds; convalescent care beds and palliative care beds. The hospital also provides consultant and nurse-led out-patient clinics, including psychiatry, anti- and post-natal and gynaecology; surgical; paediatric; and psychiatry of old age, among others. Two GP practices provide services on site and radiology services are offered three days a week.

“I think it often surprises people outside of Donegal how much goes on in community hospitals,” Mr. Hayes told the staff and others who attended the official opening.

Mr. Hayes said the co-location of primary care and GP services in the community hospital “didn’t happen by accident”, but through consultation with local GPs.

Sue Islam, director of nursing at the hospital, said the new extension “meets all environmental standards for residential care for older people in Ireland.”

She thanked Pat Nora Gallagher and Pat “the Cope” Gallagher for their support of the garden project and said the local community had been very generous.

“I cannot thank the local community enough for their generosity and support,” the nursing director said, adding, “I am continually humbled by their goodwill.”

Father Nigel Ó Gallachóir, hospital chaplain, offered a blessing for the new extension.