LETTERKENNY University Hospital is preparing to open a new 16-bed ward to take in coronavirus patients needing treatment in the coming days.
The clinical skills centre, which normally plays host to healthcare practitioners, has been converted into ward beds as part of ongoing Covid-19 Emergency Works at the hospital.
The facility, adjacent to the old Accident and Emergency Unit, will be formally handed over to the hospital tomorrow, Friday.
It was built in less than three weeks by Terence Ponsonby Ltd from Letterkenny, under the watchful eye of Chris Toner, site manager, alongside a number of local sub-contractors, working long shifts.
Together with his team, Chris has been working around the clock to make things happen on the ground and to ensure that the project was completed within the extremely challenging timelines set out.
Building machinery first arrived at the site on Monday, March 23, with the aim to get the new facility ready as soon as possible.
“The construction of this project is part of the Covid-19 emergency works at the hospital. It was a job that normally takes about four months to complete but we’ve managed to turn it around in nineteen days,” Mr Barrie Cox, Director, Terence Ponsonby Limited, said.
There are two emergency units being established at LUH at the minute as part of the hospital’s efforts to contain and treat patients suspected of contracting coronavirus. SISK are the contractor for the other unit in prefabricated buildings already on site.
“We got a phone call to mobilise our men on Friday, March 20, and we were on site the following Monday morning (March 23). The whole place had to be completely remodelled and we went at it with jack hammers from the off.
“Chris and the lads were working twenty hours a day, seven days a week and they deserve all the credit for turning the former clinical skills area into a hospital spec ward within nineteen days.
“Come Friday we’ll be in the position to hand over a new 16-bed ward, comprising two times six beds, a three bed space and a single bed unit to the hospital,” Mr Cox said.
Workers from Terence Ponsonby Limited had already been on site, forming a new helipad while they’ve also refurbished the CSSD (Central sterile services department) and the Neo Natal ward in the recent past.
Established in 1945, the company was also responsible for recent refurbishment works to the Government Offices on High Road and on the Oliver Plunkett Road, both in Letterkenny.
They had been due to start work on the new extension to Glenswilly National School this week but those works have been shelved due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The lads turned that job (hospital) around as quick as anyone could and that’s down to the people on the ground. They’re all local and they wanted to do their bit because they’re well aware of the constraints the hospital had. Between our lads and sub-contractors we had about thirty men on site at any given time. They all wanted to put their shoulder to the wheel and I’ve no doubt that they’ve done that and they can all be proud of their efforts,” Mr Cox said.