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Health Minister hails new-look Craigavon Hospital facilities after £8.7m investment

A new outpatient unit, ward improvements, refurbished haematology ward and a new surgical ambulatory unit are among an extensive package of works completed

Minister Robin Swann at Craigavon Hospita
Health Minister Robin Swann with the surgical team in the Surgical Ambulatory Unit at Craigavon Area Hospital

Health Minister Robin Swann has visited Craigavon Area Hospital to meet staff and see the refurbished haematology ward and new surgical ambulatory unit.

Both developments were delivered as part of a wider package of works – with an £8.7million investment – to improve infection prevention and control across the hospital.

The investment also included a new outpatients unit along with a number of other ward refurbishment works.

Speaking during his visit Minister Swann said: “I recognise the important part that Craigavon Area Hospital has played in the network of acute hospitals, but I appreciate that due to the ageing infrastructure, some areas have been in need of refurbishment.

“I am delighted to be here today to see the refurbished haematology ward and hear of the difference that this will make to the treatment of patients.”

The haematology ward has undergone a complete upgrade including the installation of a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. Previously with just six single rooms and two shared bays, the ward now has 13 single rooms with ensuites.

A new 10 space surgical ambulatory unit is located in the former outpatients department on the ground floor of the hospital. Surgical patients who need assessment will be referred to this dedicated space from the Emergency Department or their GP. Staffed by the surgical team, the new unit aims to free up space in the ED, giving patients the most suitable care as soon as possible and avoiding unnecessary admission when appropriate

The new outpatients department in the Ramone Building is a conversion of the former patient booking centre. The new department now offers an additional 10 consulting rooms with support accommodation, allowing better organisation of appointments and more patients to be seen at any one time.

Pictured outside Craigavon Area Hospital are Health Minister Robin Swann with Martin McDonald, Non- Executive Director Southern Health and Social Care Trust and Melanie McClements, Director of Acute Services

Welcoming the developments, Director of Acute Services for the Southern Trust, Melanie McClements said: “Given our ageing estate and huge demand on services, it is an absolute credit to our staff who have risen to the huge challenge of maintaining social distancing and implementing all the other COVID safety measures.

“Since the start of the pandemic we have been indebted to our incredibly resourceful estates and planning colleagues who have gone above and beyond to create more space and improve facilities where we can.

“Whilst we are always very proud of the high quality of services provided by our dedicated staff, we greatly appreciate this additional funding from the Department of Health which has allowed us to modernise our facilities and improve the experience of our patients. Additional single rooms and improved ventilation are very welcome safety measures for vulnerable haematology patients and the new ambulatory unit will help us to give more surgical patients the right care in the right place. We are mindful that our hospital estate needs further investment and we will continue to work with the Department of Health to deliver these improvements.”

Health Minister Robin Swann with Nicola Shannon, lead nurse and Michelle Graham, staff nurse on the new Haematology ward in Craigavon Area Hospital

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