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Trust updates on local health plans during Armagh MIU debate

A business case has been compiled for a unit at Craigavon Area Hospital for drugs to treat cancer, it has been revealed.

And there are also further planned developments at Craigavon and Daisy Hill Hospitals.

Consideration is also being given to the provision of a multi-storey car park at Craigavon as part of the redevelopment plan.

The revelations came during the course of a meeting between officials from the Southern Health Trust and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Area Council to discuss the proposal to close the minor injuries unit in Armagh.

In relation to the facility at Tower Hill, councillors were told that GPs had not highlighted any additional pressure as a result of the temporary closure of Armagh MIU. There had been no increase in the topographical results of X-Ray departments.

Savings of £211,000 had been made with the temporary closure of the Armagh MIU between November 1 last year and the end of March this year, and it was confirmed that equipment that was no longer used was removed from Tower Hill.

In response to calls to face the public and explain, the Trust has said it would be “happy to engage in any public event” during the consultation period and would liaise with the council in this regard.

It was also stated that the Trust had invested in both Craigavon and Daisy Hill Hospitals and would continue to do so. New theatres had been provided at Daisy Hill Hospital and there were “no plans to move activity” from Newry to Craigavon

The Trust told councillors it must provide the best quality service with the resources that were available.

It had worked in conjunction with the former Armagh City and District Council and carried out leaflet drops and advertisements in the press.

It did said it would not bring forward a proposal for the permanent closure of the MIU if there was a better way of providing this service.

On other plans, confirmation was given that a business case had been compiled for a unit at Craigavon Hospital fordrugs to treat cancer.

Craigavon Area Hospital

Craigavon Area Hospital

And approval had been granted for two paediatric units – one at Daisy Hill and one at Craigavon. The Craigavon unit was currently at design stage and the development of the unit at Daisy Hill had started.

Banbridge Community Care and Treatment Centre was due to open within the next 12 months.

The Trust said that a consultation process had been held on the relocation of the Gillis Unit in Armagh to a new fit-for-purpose unit on the Craigavon Area Hospital site.

Councillors were told there was very clear evidence that this was the best way to provide hospital care for medical needs and dementia needs.

But it was stated there is currently no funding available to develop a purpose-built unit.

All statutory residential homes, while able to support elderly people with mild to moderate dementia, were not specialist units.

The Trust is currently considering securing a residential nursing home for dementia patients and day care needs for older people. Some statutory residential homes were built up to 30 years ago and need significant funding to bring them up to standard.

Councillors were told that the Trust was required to make savings of £13 million this year and this must be met with the least impact possible.

After concerns raised by councillors, the Trust officials agreed to provide further information to report back to the committee.

They are to provide a written response regarding the clearing of rooms at Armagh MIU, figures on the number of complaints following the closure and details of the number of patients attending the MIU at South Tyrone Hospital in Dungannon.

Details of the Trust’s capital programme for the next few years will also be forwarded, as well as information on the  GP Out of Hours in Armagh, following concerns this is sometimes closed and GPs are sent to facilities elsewhere.

A detailed update on the proposed relocation of GP surgeries to Lurgan Hospital site is to be provided,

Consideration is also to be given to a long term plan of attracting more GPs and young graduates.

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