An aerial view of the completed site
Work on the 80-bed community hospital in Ballyshannon is to start shortly
In a statement issued just before 6pm this (Friday) eveing chief officer, John Hayes (HSE) said the Sheil Hospital in Ballyshannon will be developed to service south Donegal, north Sligo and north Leitrim in the next two years.
"Site works are due to commence in the coming days. The Sheil Trust have worked with the HŞE to facilitate the project.
"This is a further development of Ballyshannon Health Campus which includes the primary care centre and HSE cffices in the former convent which was developed in 2015.
"Boyle Construction Ltd. from Letterkenny have been appointed as the main contractor for the project. This project will be overseen by Rhatigan Architects (Sligo) in collaboration with Tangram Architects (London)."
He explained that the development consists of a three-storey extension to the rear of the existing hospital and upgrading to the existing building which is a protected structure.
"The 80-bed unit will consist of 66 single bedrooms and seven twin bedrooms to provide long and short stay care and a dementia ward. The unit will work in close collaboration with Sligo University Hospital and includes day services.
"Work is currently ongoing at the Rock Nursing Unit in Ballyshannon also to provide enhanced new accommodation for the current residents of the Sheil Hospital who will be relocated to facilitate the development.
"It is envisaged that the residents will be relocated to the new facilities at the Rock site before the end of the current year.
"Residents who transferred to St. Joseph's in Stranorlar earlier this year will also be accommodated," he said
Mr Hayes added that people will begin to notice visible site works shortly, which will include site clearance to facilitate a new link road from the existing Market Yard to the Knather Road.
"All construction traffic will enter the new site via the Market Yard where certain restrictions and additional information signage will be in place. There will also be a dedicated drop off zone for the national school.
A computer generated image of the new building
"The area of the community gardens to the rear of the existing Primary Care Centre will be taken over by the contractors for the duration of the construction works but will be reinstated at the end of the project to provide another significant facility for the community.
"The HSE are working with Donegal County Council, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, ESB and the local schools to deliver this project whilst minimising the impact to the local area.
Mr Hayes added that this much needed development was part of a wider upgrading and development programme of community hospitals and nursing units in the north-west.
"The HSE will keep families and staff updated as the project progresses."
He said he also acknowledges the work of staff in the Sheil Hospital and the Rock Nursing Unit in providing excellent care, in difficult and challenging times.