A major rebuilding programme has been announced for Letterkenny General Hospital following serious flooding which wiped out 40% of the floor space at the hospital at the end of July.

The estimated cost of the rebuilding works is €10m but the total figure for re-equipping the facility, rebuilding sections of the hospital and contingency arrangements is estimated to be in the region of €30m.

It is hoped that insurance will cover the bulk of this but Chief Executive of the West/North West Hospitals Group Bill Maher, said that in there is a commitment from the HSE and the Minister for Health to restore the hospital to what it was, and in some areas, he said, it would be better.

The rebuilding works will include a new culvert which will cost around €250,000.

Mr Maher said that at the moment the West/North West Hospital group is considering a report into the existing culvert and the flooding and it is expected that this will be published shortly.

The building programme depends on the level of seepage and water contamination in different parts of the hospital.

It will include knocking internal walls and rebuilding in many areas. In the case of the Emergency Department which cost over €20m and only opened a few months before the flood, the damage was less severe than in other areas but will still involve digging up and replacing floors and other parts of the structure.

Eleven key areas of the hospital have to be rebuilt including radiology and outpatients, coronary care and oncology but the priority is to get the emergency department back in operation by next February along with the hospital's kitchens.

It is hoped that the rest of the programme will be complete by next summer or autumn. A temporary emergency department which was opened three weeks after the flood is now fully functioning and capable of dealing with a major emergency according to General Manager, Sean Murphy

At the moment the hospital has restored 95% of its services either on or off site but there are still problems in terms of capacity.

With two wards out of action Mr Murphy said that there are bed pressures and difficulties with scheduled care such as surgery. However he said they are working hard to get all services back up and running.