HOSPITAL and emergency services staff have been praised for the professional manner in which they worked to protect patients following the roof-top fire at Altnagelvin on Friday night.
Seven wards were evacuated and around 120 patients were moved to other Wards and some to other hospitals as far away as Fermanagh, following the incident. Around 50 firefighters brought the blaze under control while Ambulance personnel coordinated the evacuation with the PSNI and hospital staff.
Leading the praise locally was William Hay, who said he had been on the ground and witnessed the response to the blaze first hand.
“I saw the operation put into place by the emergency services and staff at the hospital and I have to say it was very professional and very well managed,” he said.
“Both the emergency services and the staff at Altnagelvin need to be congratulated for the work they did under such difficult circumstances. It was an operation well planned,” he said, adding: “We now need to wait for the results of the investigation into the cause of the fire and not jump to conclusions. The Health Minister has said that the building was not the problem, so we should wait and see what the cause of the fire was.”
During his visit to the hospital on Saturday, Mr Poots spoke with patients and thanked staff. He also saw first hand the good progress being made by staff to to bring hospital life back to normal.
“It is a major relief that no one was hurt during this incident. I would like to send my sympathy to all the patients whose recovery has been disrupted by the fire. Last night we witnessed an efficient and effective operation involving the Ambulance Service, police, firefighters and hospital staff to move over 100 vulnerable patients with as little upheaval as possible in difficult circumstances. Today,
Chief Executive of the Trust Elaine Way said: “I had the opportunity to witness last night the finest teamwork imaginable; not just amongst my own staff, who were truly remarkable, but also colleagues in the police, ambulance, fire services and across the border. Everyone pulled together to keep our patients safe and comfortable. We are working hard to return to normal as soon as possible.”