PLANS have been put in place to move the Out-Patients’ Department of Letterkenny General Hospital to a town centre location in the coming weeks, it has emerged.
The existing facility suffered significant flood damage at the hospital at the end of July which affected 40 per cent of hospital services.
Since then, staff have been working around the clock in a bid to resume all services. Interim Emergency and Radiology departments have reopened with patients no longer being diverted to Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry, Sligo and South West Acute Hospital (Enniskillen).
The Project Team at Letterkenny General Hospital is due to present a full preliminary report, outlining a programe schedule of works over the coming months, to the hospital’s Steering Group next week.
One of the main decisions to be taken is where to locate the Interim Out-Patients’ Department.
“They have looked at a number of sites but it appears as though they will set up the Out-Patients’ Department in the McGinley building (McGinley Motors, Pearse Road). Small clinics are already taking place there at present but this would see them take over the rest of the building while works are ongoing at the hospital site. A final decision will be taken next week,” a source said.
“The hope is that it will be fully up and running inside the next month or so – complete with an x-ray room in it,” the source added.
It is these additional ‘increased costs of working’ costs which is likely to see the overall bill closer to €30 million than than the original €10m figure reported at the time.
“Realistically, we’re looking at the middle of 2014 before the hospital will return to pre-flood conditions.”
In the meantime, the new kitchen – on the St Conal’s site – and canteen on the opposite side of the road, adjacent to the old ambulance bay, are due to come into operation next week.
At present, all food is coming from a site in Mayo which is also servicing Mayo General Hosital in Castlebar.
Questions on the cost of the flooding as well as the cost of sending patients to Derry, Enniskillen and Sligo were forwarded to the Health Service Executive last week.
“As Letterkenny General Hospital is still in 24 hour recovery mode, all of the hospital management resources are focused on the restoration of services and resources are not being diverted to respond to anything other than patient or recovery issues,” the statement read.
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