~ Tuesday, 3 March 2009
Speaking during an Assembly debate on the provision of Hospital and Health Care Facilities in Mid Ulster, the Minister said the investment in Mid-Ulster is part of a planned total of £175 million in the Northern Trust area over the next 10 years. Some £29 million of this total sum will be invested in the Trust facilities over the next three years.
The Minister said: "As part of this significant investment in the Northern Trust area will be the redevelopment of Whiteabbey Local Hospital, a new ward block at Antrim Hospital and new mental health inpatient accommodation at Hollywell Hospital.
"In addition, new health and care centres will be developed in the Larne, Carrickfergus and Ballymena areas. Plans for the Mid Ulster include a major £25 million redevelopment of facilities at the Mid Ulster Hospital site including a co-located health and care centre. This will be an important development for the hospital and for the local community."
The Minister said he was committed to the continued provision of high quality health and social care services for people living in the Mid Ulster area - just as elsewhere in Northern Ireland.
He continued: " In line with proposals for modernising acute hospital services across Northern Ireland, the Mid Ulster Hospital will become a local hospital and play a key role in supporting acute services across the Trust area. I have been advised by the Trust that the vast majority of staff working in the Hospital - some 550 - will continue to work on the Mid Ulster site once the changes have been implemented.
"Medicine has changed significantly since local hospitals such as the Mid-Ulster were built across Northern Ireland. There are many benefits for patients from the increased specialisation in modern clinical practice - better care, more effective use of technology and better outcomes for patients.
"Small, local hospitals do have an important role to play in supporting the health and well-being of their local communities but we cannot expect to provide in every locality a comparable level of clinical expertise and technical ability as you would find in a large acute hospital."
The Mid Ulster will continue to provide the local community with a wide range of services including:
- Day surgery services
- A wide range of consultant-led out-patient clinics.
- Nurse-led clinics and services, for example, Physiotherapy and Dietetics.
- A significant number of inpatient rehabilitation beds. This will allow people recovering from surgery or other medical care to have rehabilitation locally as soon as they are able to leave the acute hospital setting.
"The new model of care also proposes to a quality minor injuries service which will be capable of treating the vast majority of the patients who currently attend A&E at the Mid Ulster. It will ensure the hospital provides a wide range of quality and sustainable services to people in their local community for many years to come."