Friday evening’s devastating flooding which hit North Donegal has left 40 per cent of Letterkenny General Hospital out of commission.
Sean Murphy, general manager, said he had no doubt there was an “absolute commitment” to rebuild hospital services. The manager said it will take months to reinstate all services, though he said some will be returned in a shorter time frame.
At a media briefing on Tuesday, Mr. Murphy also emphasised that jobs at the hospital were safe, saying, “No one need fear about their jobs.”
Health Minister James Reilly, TD, toured the damaged hospital on Sunday and Fianna Fáil party leader, Micheál Martin, TD, visited yesterday with local party colleagues. Minister of State Kathleen Lynch, TD, fell ill while visiting the hospital yesterday and was taken to the intensive care unit (See story, page 3).
Mr. Murphy said a large proportion of the hospital has been covered in contaminated flood water, resulting in issues of hygiene and infection control.
“You cannot just clean up the flood water and put patients back into those areas,” he said. Affected were the emergency department and medical assessment unit, radiology department, pharmacy, outpatient department, haematology ward, coronary care unit, kitchens and support service offices and clinic areas.
“We have relocated services elsewhere in the hospital where appropriate. We have taken services off-site where necessary,” Mr. Murphy said. Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry and Sligo General Hospital are accepting emergency patients from Donegal. The manager said assessments of damage are ongoing, and he could not speculate on whether any part of the structure would have to be taken down or rebuilt. See pages 8, 9 and 20 for more.