Beggs urges investment to replace Victorian Holywell Hospital

Following issues raised by a constituent and a meeting with senior Norther Health & Social Care Trust officials at Holywell Hospital, Roy Beggs MLA has written to the Health Departments Permanent Secretary urging for capital investment to replace the ageing Victorian built Holywell Hospital and to provide modern inpatient facilities for local mental health patients.

Mr Beggs MLA said “I was recently contacted by a constituent whose relative had had been unable to be admitted to Holywell Hospital due to a lack of beds, and who was temporarily placed at the Bluestone Unit in Craigavon. I was advised of the stark difference between the two facilities and of the need for investment to replace the Victorian built Holywell hospital facility to improve mental health inpatient facilities and outcomes”.

“I visited staff and patients at Holywell Hospital’s dedicated Dementia assessment unit located within the hospital’s Victorian Building. My East Antrim constituent had also highlight the need for improved personal space at the Tobernaveen facilities to aid recovery. During my visit the staff acknowledged that there was a need for improved person space, common rooms and treatment facilities to assist in the recovery from mental health illness. Better designed facilities lessens also the likelihood of a patients exposure to stressful traumatic events involving others”.

The Ulster Unionist Health spokesman indicated that he was aware that RQIA, whilst acknowledged the good practice and care, have written to the Department of Health expressing their concerns regarding parts of Holywell Hospital’s dated design which were not fit for purpose set out in modern standards.

Maintaining the ageing, listed building and its infrastructure is expensive. In addition the preferred option of new build facility close to the main Antrim Hospital site will improve access to wider health care for patients and reduce travel and supervision costs. It is understood that the case for capital investment has completed the assessment process within the Northern Health and Social Care Trust and the Health and Social Care Board and awaits a capital decision which would normally be made by a minister.

In conclusion Roy Beggs MLA said “There as a strong case for replacing the Victorian built Antrim mental health facility. I have sough clarity from the Permanent Secretary of the Dept. of Health when this badly need investment will be made. I hope that mental health patients are not suffering as a result of the refusal of Sinn Fein to enable the Executive to be re-established and to this enable this important investment decision to be made.”

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