Health Minister, Simon Hamilton, has officially opened the new £16million Health and Care Centre in Banbridge.
The new facilities complete the development of the Health Village on the site of the former Banbridge Hospital which already accommodates local GPs.
The Minister said: “I am delighted to be able to officially open the new facilities. These new sites are modern and house state of the art facilities which will enable the local community to receive the best possible healthcare. They provide a wide range of primary care, community and acute diagnostic services at a single location and demonstrate the principles of Transforming Your Care.”
The new Health and Care Centre will have around 220 staff delivering a range of community services including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy, specialist nursing, a rehabilitation suite and two dental surgeries. There is also bookable space available for other visiting services.
The Minister continued: “We are all acutely aware of the pressures our hospitals are under so the provision of facilities such as these will inevitably help alleviate that stress and provide local people with local services tailored to their needs.
“I am determined to ensure that the people of Northern Ireland have access to the best healthcare and as such will continue to press for greater investment to enable me to provide a world class health service that has the patient at its heart.”
Interim Chief Executive of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, Paula Clarke said: “Development of community services is key priority for the Southern Trust. We already have our very well established Care and Treatment Centre in Portadown and have plans to bring care closer to home to people through centres like this, in other towns across the area in the future. This new centre brings together a range of services in a more accessible ‘one-stop’ environment for the people of Banbridge supporting us to continue to transform care.
“We are also delighted to be able to offer local clients with learning and physical disabilities, day care in such a comfortable environment with all the latest equipment to suit their needs. We are particularly proud to be the first day centre in Northern Ireland with ‘immersive’ sensory rooms which offer our clients state of the art technology to aid with their rehabilitation and therapy.”
During his visit the Minister also took the time to view the new Day Care facility known as The Linenbridge Centre which will provide 46 learning disability places and 20 physical disability places.
It will also provide a range of shared accommodation including therapy space, treatment room, and speech and language therapy room and associated support accommodation for staff.
Martin Kelly, Director, Primary Care Infrastructure Development, Health and Social Care Board said: “This new healthcare hub in Banbridge is one of a number of developments under phase one of the Primary Care Infrastructure Development (PCID) Programme. The programme invests in and redevelops new health and care centres across Northern Ireland so that health services can be provided in a more integrated manner, closer to home for those using the service. Other similar hubs have been developed in Omagh and Ballymena and are in procurement for Lisburn and Newry.
Investment in GP surgeries is also being made through the GP Loan Scheme. This programme of investment is expected to continue over the coming years to provide the much needed investment in health care facilities.”