THE Donegal News understands that that the new Outpatients Department, which has been moved to the McGinley building at Pearse Road, Letterkenny, will be fully operational before Christmas, at a cost “north of €1.5 million” over a two-year period.
Meanwhile, the state-of-the-art €22 million new Emergency Department at Letterkenny General Hospital (LGH) will remain out of action for at least another six months.
These and other matters will be discussed this morning (Friday) at a series of high-powered meetings between the Rebuild Steering Group at LGH and senior management.
Just 90 days after LGH was devastated by a flood, the group has been charged with restoring the hospital to ‘normality’.
A spokesperson for the Health Service Executive confirmed yesterday that there are 30 Clinic rooms to accommodate all the Outpatient Clinics, except Ante-Natal, Paediatrics, Gynaecology and Breast Care, within the McGinley building.
It will be another seven weeks before the new facility, which includes an X-ray room, is fully operational.
While the spokesperson declined to divulge costs which are ‘contract sensitive but are in line with normal rental rates’, well placed sources say that it will cost ‘north of €1.5 million’ to relocate the Outpatient Clinics.
An initial two-year contract has been signed between the HSE and the owners of the McGinley building at Pearse Road.
Last month, Mr Bill Maher CEO of the West/North West Hospitals Group told a meeting of the board in Letterkenny that the anticipated cost of restoring the hospital to normality was around €30 million and could be completed by autumn of next year.
Any hope of the new Emergency Department re-opening in the very near future were dashed however when the Rebuild Steering Group learned that it will be at least six months before this happens.
“There are ongoing issues regarding the renewal of cover at Letterkenny General Hospital. They have to satisfy the insurers that they have put in place measures to alleviate the possibility of flooding happening again at the new ED site.
“Until they have that in place it will hamper the start of remedial works. It will be at least April or May before it re-opens,” the source said.
Mr Maher described the new Emergency Department in LGH the being “the best ED in our group of hospitals”.
“The new ED will only need minor work – this means lifting the floors. In other areas the damage is more substantial and walls will have to be knocked down,” he said.
This building work includes a new culvert to divert any future flood away from the buildings. It will cost circa €250,000. A planning application has already been lodged for this and work is expected to start on the new culvert before the end of the year.
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