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Council Health Group meets Health Trust and Commissioning Group

June 10, 2015

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s Health Working Group this week met with the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust and the South Eastern Local Commissioning Group.

During the Meeting, the Trust and the Group provided Elected Members with updates on a number of projects across the Council area, including 24 hour access to the emergency unit at Lagan Valley Hospital, building developments at both the Lagan Valley Hospital and the Ulster Hospital, the proposals for a Minor Injuries Unit and GP led Out of hours Service at Lagan Valley Hospital as well as plans for a new acute Mental Health Inpatient Unit adjacent to the Ulster Hospital. 

Speaking after the meeting, Chair of the Council’s Health Working Group, Alderman James Tinsley, thanked the Trust and the Group for coming along to provide an update.

“The recently published Donaldson Report recommends radical changes to health care provision in Northern Ireland and it would be naïve to assume that Lisburn and Castlereagh will be immune to all the changes and challenges ahead and it is vitally important that the needs of our local community and, most importantly, the best patient outcomes remain at the core of all decisions taken in the future.

“The Trust and the Commissioning Group provided a very candid presentation as to the situation at present in the Trust and in the health sector across Northern Ireland.  It is disappointing that due to savings of £5million that the Trust had to make at short notice, there have been delays in the progress of a Minor Injuries Unit at the Lagan Valley Hospital but we remain positive for a successful outcome.

“It is also pleasing that work has begun on relocating the GP Out of Hours service to be closer to the Lagan Valley Hospital’s Emergency and Outpatient Departments and that major building works are well underway at the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald with Phase 1 due to be completed by 2017 and a new Accident and Emergency Unit ready by 2019.

“With regards to 24 hour access to the Lagan Valley Hospital, the Trust were keen to emphasise that while there is not 24 hour public admission, the hospital remains open for admission to the hospital, at any time during the day or night, via direct GP referral.

“There can be little doubt that healthcare in Northern Ireland is at a crossroads and during these difficult financial times, it is encouraging that work and substantial investment has continued in GP led and hospital care in the Lisburn and Castlereagh area.  The Council, both through this Working Group and in its lead role in community planning, will work with all parties to ensure that local people have access to local services while ensuring the safest health care provision and the best possible patient outcomes for all our residents,” said Alderman Tinsley.