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Council to meet Health Trust over Gillis Unit relocation plans

With just under four weeks remaining on a public consultation over the relocation of the Gillis Unit from Armagh, representatives of the Southern Health Trust are expected to attend a meeting of Armagh Council’s public services scrutiny committee on Monday night to discuss the issue.

The Trust had emailed the Council in August over plans to relocate Dementia Assessment Inpatient care from Gillis in Armagh to what it described as a “new fit for purpose unit” in Craigavon.

In September, the Council agreed to invite the Trust along to discuss the issue in more detail at the next scrutiny committee meeting, which takes place this Monday night.

Councillors felt that the proposal was “too important” simply to refer to its scrutiny panel and wants to engage in full discussions.

The Gillis Memory Centre recently won a top Best Kept Award from the Northern Ireland Amenity Council, when it was named winner in the Residential category for the entire Southern Trust Area.

But, despite this, a consultation to move the service for dementia to Craigavon continues and will come to an end on October 31.

Armagh I first reported in June a number of proposals which would see radical changes to local health services primary accessed by the elderly.

These could be introduced within the next number of years and are currently out to public consultation.

One would see an end to the Gillis Unit at St Luke’s Hospital in Armagh, as the dementia services currently offered there are proposed to be relocated to Craigavon Area Hospital.

At a recent committee meeting of Armagh Council, Lord Mayor Cathy Rafferty expressed concerns on cuts made to the carer service for the elderly and the impact it had had, particularly for those with additional medical needs.

If rubber-stamped, acute stroke services would also no longer be available at Daisy Hill Hospital, while dementia assessment inpatient care would cease in Armagh, with both being centralised in Craigavon.

In addition, in-patient non-acute hospital services for older people, which are currently available at five locations across the entire Southern Trust area, would be reduced to two – Daisy Hill and Craigavon.

The consultation process, the Trust says, is to agree a clear vision for this important service, while recognising it will be two to three years before there will be any change in where the service is currently located.

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