Friday, March 03, 2023

By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

Maternity services at Wexford General Hospital are expected to resume on Friday, as two dozen patients remain at the site receiving care in the wake of a major fire.

In a statement, management at Wexford General Hospital said they had been advised it will be possible to continue maternity care from 9am and that outpatient appointments will resume on Monday.

“If any expectant mothers have queries in relation to their care in WGH’s maternity unit, they can ring the labour ward, 053 9153368,” it said.

Twenty-nine patients still in the hospital will continue to receive treatment there, the hospital added.

A major fire forced the evacuation of 200 people from the hospital on Wednesday.

Patients have been moved to other hospitals nearby, with maternity care transferred to Waterford and paediatrics transferred to Children’s Hospital Ireland (CHI) in Dublin.

No injuries have been reported.

Politicians have praised the emergency responders and hospital staff for their efforts to evacuate people safely, and said the impact of the “significant” blaze could have been worse.

The fire broke out in the plant room, where equipment is stored that supplies oxygen and power to the hospital, but the cause of the fire has not yet been confirmed.

“Assessment teams are still inspecting the site to establish the source and location of the fire,” the hospital group that oversees Wexford General Hospital said.

Parts of the hospital have been damaged by the fire, as well as water and smoke.

The Ireland East Hospital Group said that the HSE’s engineer and technical team had been assessing the damage, working in collaboration with gardai and their forensic team.

“Ely Hospital remains open, and all appointments will proceed as normal,” it said.


“The accident and emergency department is closed in WGH. If you require emergency care, please attend your closest alternative A&E.”

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, who visited the hospital on Thursday with Minister of State and Wexford TD James Browne, thanked the emergency services and healthcare staff.

“I’ve just come from the hospital and I walked around it myself, and the hospital manager and the clinical director,” he told RTÉ.

“So right through the night, we saw patients being brought to Waterford, to Kilkenny and to CHI and Dublin and to other hospitals. The entire healthcare service responded.

“Most importantly, there were no casualties, there were no fatalities and it would appear – certainly the information we have now – is that no-one was injured.

“None of our staff were injured. Patients, their families, were not injured, which is a testament to the staff in Waterford, to the emergency services.

“There are areas which appear to have suffered some significant damage. Obviously, on the fourth floor of the area affected, there is smoke damage, there is water damage, there’s a plant room.

“And then, for example, there are pipes on the way to the critical care units which may have been cracked.”

He said there are “substantial” areas of damage, including more than half of the inpatient beds, the maternity and endoscopy areas, and critical care.

He said it will take time to assess the extent of the damage and how much work is needed to make repairs.

“The areas that were not affected include the emergency department, some of the diagnostics, some of the day case, but certainly there is a large part of the hospital which to a greater or lesser extent has been directly affected,” he said.

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