Hospital to review use of top floors

Emergency services attend a fire at Altnagelvin Hospital. (2411Sl11) Photo: Stephen Latimer
Emergency services attend a fire at Altnagelvin Hospital. (2411Sl11) Photo: Stephen Latimer

The Western Health and Social Care Trust has said it is reviewing the use of the top three floors of Altnagelvin hospital following the fire on Friday night.

A Trust spokesperson said last night that it will “review the usage” of wards eight, nine and ten in the hospital.

The move comes after Friday night’s fire which led to the evacuation of 129 patients from seven wards during a major operation involving Trust staff, emergency service, and transport agencies.

The spokesperson said five of the seven wards evacuated on Friday had returned to normal yesterday although 33 planned in-patient procedures had to be postponed.

“The Western Trust has taken the decision to review the future usage of wards 8, 9 and 10. Patients from wards 8, 9 and 10 will continue to be cared for in other appropriate areas of the hospital,” a Trust spokesperson said.

A Fire Service investigation is currently underway to determine the cause of the fire and Health Minister Edwin Poots last night called for the findings of the report to be made public once it is completed.

The minister made the call following emergency questions from Foyle MLAs Maeve McLaughlin and Pat Ramsey in the Assembly yesterday afternoon.

Mr Ramsey has called for a thorough investigation.

Ms McLaughlin welcomed the Minister’s call for the report to be published and said it could help restore public confidence.

“He said once the Fire Service are satisfied with their investigation he would be encouraging them to publish the report. This needs to happen. If there are lessons to be learned then we need to learn them and act on them.

“Additionally if the minister finds the building to be unfit he needs to guarantee that he will provide investment to improve it,” she said.

A Western Trust spokesperson said; “An investigation is ongoing into the cause of the incident and whilst it would be inappropriate to speculate as to the cause at this point, the fire is not believed to have been malicious or as a result of the condition of the building.”