Saturday 21 October 2017

Investigation into how floods could wreck hospital

The flooded entrance to Letterkenny's A&E department
The flooded entrance to Letterkenny's A&E department

Stephen Maguire

AN INVESTIGATION is to be carried out into how Letterkenny General Hospital was devastated by flood water.

Millions of euro in damage was caused to the Co Donegal hospital after last Friday's flash floods wreaked havoc.

A team of civil engineers has now been appointed to carry out a probe into the catastrophe.

The director of communications at the HSE, Paul Connors, has said the reason for the flood would only be known when this report was concluded.

It is now believed that a culvert at the rear of the hospital may have overflowed, sending water gushing into the grounds of the facility.

Mr Connors admitted that a second screening had been erected at this culvert recently. Part of the investigation would centre on this culvert, he said.

Meanwhile, the general manager of the hospital has promised to build a better facility in the wake of last week's flooding.

Speaking at the first press conference since Friday's disaster, Sean Murphy admitted that the hospital now faced a huge challenge. But he assured staff that all their jobs were safe, despite the need to downgrade services.

He also said management was working as fast as it could to rebuild those services.

"We are trying our best, aided by an amazing response from our staff, but it will take several months to get everything back to normal," he said.

"That doesn't mean that we will have no services or that we will have no emergency services for several months.

"But we have lost a significant proportion of our hospital.

"About 40pc of our hospital has been flooded with contaminated water and that doesn't mean it can be addressed with a mopping-up operation."

Mr Murphy said management was working on the setting up of a temporary accident and emergency department but could not say when this facility would open to the public.

He singled out the radiotherapy unit as being the most severely hit area. Patients are being sent to other hopitals.

Irish Independent

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