Health Minister Jim Wells has approved a £15 million development plan to modernise hospital services for children and young people across the Southern Trust.
All planned paediatric surgery for the Southern Trust will be centralised in a new £8.4m purpose built centre of excellence at Daisy Hill Hospital.
A further £6.9m will be used to upgrade paediatric services at Craigavon Area Hospital.
The Minister said: “In these hard economic times, this is excellent news for children and young people in the Southern Trust Area.
“This development of children’s services at Daisy Hill and Craigavon Area Hospitals clearly demonstrates my commitment to improving the lives of Northern Ireland’s children and young people and it is a real and tangible sign to the people of the Southern Trust area that a new development will be delivered as promised.
“This capital project represents a major investment for the area, not only terms of health and social care but also for the construction industry. I am extremely confident that the local economy will benefit from the project by not only securing, but creating employment in this challenging economic climate.”
The centre will be located on Level 6 of the hospital which will be redeveloped to include a new child-friendly theatre suite and recovery area, co-located beside a 20 bedded children’s ward, and a dedicated area for paediatric outpatients and ambulatory care – all custom designed to support the delivery of the most up to date clinical standards for the treatment and care of children and young people.
Welcoming the Minister’s announcement, Chief Executive of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, Mairead McAlinden said: “I am extremely grateful to the Minister, particularly in the current difficult financial climate, for this decision to prioritise capital investment in children’s’ services in Daisy Hill and Craigavon hospitals. This allows us to continue to the next phase of implementation of our ‘Changing for Children’ strategy which was developed through public consultation in 2010.
“We have already put in place a range of improvements under our Changing for Children Strategy including enhanced ambulatory care at Craigavon and introducing longer opening hours for the Ambulatory Service in Daisy Hill, refurbishing our children’s wards and increasing single room accommodation, and the introduction of transitional care cots in the neonatal and special care baby units to support parents in preparing for the discharge of their baby from specialist care.
“We see this next phase as a major step forward in achieving the highest standards of care for our children and young people when they need hospital care. We have worked with parents, carers, children and young people and our front line staff to develop the plans for this major development at Daisy Hill. By centralising planned paediatric surgery we will be able to put in place a full range of specially trained staff and deliver this care in dedicated ‘child friendly’ accommodation. Any child or young person requiring emergency surgery will continue to have this at their nearest acute hospital – Craigavon or Daisy Hill.
“This is the latest investment in the Trust’s continued programme of development and modernisation of Daisy Hill Hospital and another example of how Daisy Hill and Craigavon Hospitals are working together to provide a network of high quality hospital care to the population of the Southern Trust and beyond.”
The Design Team has now been appointed to plan this £15 million capital development at Daisy Hill and Craigavon with construction work currently expected to be completed in 2017.
The Minister concluded: “I look forward to visiting Daisy Hill and Craigavon Area Hospitals in the New Year to see how plans are progressing.”
Newry and Armagh Sinn Fein MLA welcomed today’s announcement.
He said: “I see this as a a hugely positive development for both Daisy Hill and Craigavon Hospitals.
“This investment in the local health estate is a fitting tribute to the dedication and professionalism of all staff and will result in world class services for the children of the district.
“As a member of the Assembly’s Health Committee I have always championed the continuous development of Daisy Hill and this announcement will further reinforce Daisy Hill’s position as a centre of excellence.”
Pictured: Welcoming the announcement of a £15 million paediatric development for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust are the Trust’s Director of Children and Young People’s Services, Paul Morgan, Chair, Roberta Brownlee, Health Minister, Jim Wells MLA and Trust Chief Executive, Mairead McAlinden.
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