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Letterkenny General Hospital in crisis

Fire officers bring sand bags into the new multi million euro Emergency Department after flash floods in Letterkenny. Photo: Donna McBride

Fire officers bring sand bags into the new multi million euro Emergency Department after flash floods in Letterkenny. Photo: Donna McBride

BY C.J.MCGINLEY
AS a major clean up continues this morning (Monday) following a state of emergency due to flooding at Letterkenny General Hospital serious questions need to be asked about how it happened.

The new €20million Emergency Department remains closed and patients are being diverted to Sligo Regional Hospital and Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry. The Minister for Health, Mr James Reilly, visited the hospital yesterday to assess first hand the devastation. He promised government support to get the hospital back up and running again.

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Meanwhile, over 500 volunteers joined in the clean up over the weekend in a remarkable display of community effort.
An emergency situation was declared on Friday evening after a significant section of the hospital was flooded.

Areas affected include the Emergency Department, Radiology Department, Outpatients Department, Pathology and Medical Records Departments, several wards and kitchens. 
This was the second time the new Emergency Department has been closed due to flooding and the cost of repairs are set to run into millions.
The news has raised questions from the HSE on why lessons from the previous flooding were not learned.
“Why were the necessary flood defences not erected?
“How could such a costly project not have mitigated against any threat from flooding at planning stage,” Donegal North East Sinn Féin TD Padraig MacLochlainn said yesterday.

The hospital is closed to all visiting as many areas have been flood damaged and soiled and the hospital wants to avoid risk of contamination and the spread of infection. Elective Inpatient and Day Case surgery for today and tomorrow have been rescheduled for a later date.

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