By Harry Walsh
THE new €22 million extension to Letterkenny General Hospital is not expected to open until the start of next year, at the earliest, it emerged yesterday. It will be at least a full year behind schedule.Work ceased at the LGH site in November last year when McNamara Construction went into receivership. Up to 20 contractors who were working at the site are still owed sums of money ranging from €5,000 up to €200,000.
Most of the work on the extension at LGH, which consists of a three-floor 72 bed medical unit and emergency department, is already complete and had been initially been scheduled to open in February last.
Speaking to the Donegal News yesterday, LGH Manager Mr Sean Murphy admitted that with each passing week it was ‘more probable’ that it would now be the opening quarter of 2012 before patients and staff are on site.
“Discussions with the Bondsmen are well advanced, however we are unable to give definite time scales until we receive the formal approval from the Bondsman,” he said.
Once the contractor is appointed, the remaining works will take approximately 12 weeks with another 6 to 8 weeks needed thereafter to equip the new Medical Block.
“Realistically, it looks more and more likely that it will be the opening quarter of 2012 before the new Emergency Department opens. We’ve been waiting week by week for news from the bondsman but as it slips further and further into the summer the chances of getting the unit commissioned before the end of the year diminish,” he said.
“The new Emergency Department is vitally important for the ongoing development of Letterkenny General Hospital. In terms of space and the efficient delivery of service it will be a huge help,” he said.