Bookmark and Share

Belfast Military Wards To Close

News Image

The closure of a military hospital unit in Northern Ireland has been announced in Westminster.

The news came as the Junior Defence Minister Kevan Jones said the Duke of Connaught Military Hospital facility, based at Musgrave Park Hospital, south Belfast, would shut by April next year.

In a Commons written statement, Mr Jones said a commercial contract with an independent service provider represented the "most effective and efficient" means of providing secondary healthcare for regular military personnel.

The move comes after a review of the number of military bases in Northern Ireland as part of the Peace Process, he explained.

Playwright, Graham Reed immortalised the facility in his six-part drama series for the BBC, Ties of Blood, in the episode, 'Military Wing' in 1985, which was directed by James Ormerod. Although filmed in the NHS's Whiteabbey Hospital, it was loosely based on Musgrave Park's military facility.

However, in advance of the Duke of Connaught Unit replacing the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) wards during the defence cuts of the 1990s - there was much more bloody real-life drama when an IRA bomb killed two soldiers.

On 2 November 1991, the unit was busier than normal because some off duty staff were watching the Rugby World Cup Final on TV that afternoon.

The blast killed one member of the RAMC, Warrant Officer Philip Arthur Cross and one member of the Royal Corps of Transport, Craig Pantry.

It also injured nine members of the Army Medical Services as well as a five-year-old girl and a four-month-old baby.

The bomb - containing 20lb of Semtex - exploded in a service tunnel that connected the Withers block to the RAMC Ward.

That block housed the childrens' and the orthopaedic wards.

Meanwhile, the last floating survivor of a pivotal First World War sea battle will be decommissioned by the end of the year.

The Royal Navy has confirmed that its training ship, HMS Caroline, which has been moored in Belfast since 1924, needs around £3.5 million worth of refurbishment, which it cannot afford.

The Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve is moving to Thiepval Barracks in Lisburn in 2010 with the vessel's future now uncertain.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

08 February 2016
Smoking To Be Banned On NI Hospital Sites
A new smoking ban is to be introduced on all hospital sites across Northern Ireland. From 09 March, staff, patients and visitors will be prohibited from smoking on the grounds.
23 February 2016
Investigations Launch After On Remand Prisoner Dies
An investigation has been launched after a prisoner who was on remand at Maghaberry Prison in Co Antrim died after being admitted to hospital. The 24-year-old man died on Monday, 22 February, after being taken from prison to hospital on Thursday, 11 February.
26 January 2016
Three People Receive Hospital Treatment Following Ammonia Spill In L'Derry
Three people have been taken to hospital following an ammonia spill at Ballyrashane Creamery in L'Derry. Emergency services attended the scene at Creamery Road on Monday morning. A leak was isolated and a second leak was also discovered. It has since been isolated.
13 December 2004
Two wards open in the Mater Hospital
Health Minister Angela Smith has today opened two new wards at the Mater Hospital. Funding of £3.5 million was made available from the Reinvestment and Reform Initiative (RRI) for 32 additional beds in the new McAuley Building.
16 October 2012
Hygiene Testing Failed For Five NI Hospitals
Eleven wards in total in five hospitals have required a further inspection into Hygiene and infection by the Regulation and Quality improvement Authority. The five hospitals involved were The Royal Victoria and City Hospital which are both located in Belfast. The Ulster in Dundonald, The Altnagelvin in Derry and the Craigavon Area Hospital.
04 March 2016
Five People Taken To Hospital Following Road Crash In Bushmills
Five people have been taken to hospital following a two-vehicle collision in Bushmills, Co Antrim. Emergency services were called to the scene on the Dunluce Road at around 6.30pm on Thursday. Two rapid response teams and five ambulances attended the scene of the crash.
22 January 2016
Woman Critical Following Co Down Crash
A woman is in a critical condition in hospital after a crash in Co Down. The pedestrian, aged in her 20s, was hit by a car on the Newcastle Road in Dundrum, shortly before 8pm on Thursday. She is being treated at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. Police closed the road following the incident, however it has been reopened.
18 January 2016
Four Injured In North Belfast Attack
Police have held two men on suspicion of attempted murder following an attack in north Belfast. The incident occurred in the Woodvale Drive area on Sunday morning. The suspects, aged 26 and 32, were arrested after being treated in hospital for their injuries.
14 January 2016
Woman 'Critical' Following Serious Attack In Carnmoney
A woman is in a critical condition in hospital following a serious attack in Carnmoney, Co Antrim. The 26-year-old was assaulted at a property in the Ashgrove Road area on Wednesday. She has been taken to hospital to be treated and her condition is described as 'critical'. No further details have been released.
11 January 2016
Three Men Arrested After Man Seriously Attacked In Co Antrim
Three men have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a man was seriously attacked in Toomebridge, Co Antrim. The assault happened outside licensed premises on the Hillhead Road at around 2am on Sunday. The man sustained a serious head injury and is in a critical condition at the Royal Victoria Hospital.
21 March 2016
Plans For Air Ambulance Service Move Forward
Plans for an air ambulance service in Northern Ireland are moving forward, the Health Minister has confirmed. Minister Simon Hamilton made the announcement during a visit to Craigavon Area Hospital today, 21 March.
08 December 2004
Antrim Area Hospital MRI Unit opened by Minister
Health Minister Angela Smith today officially opened the £2 million MRI Unit at Antrim Area Hospital. The unit will play a vital role in the diagnosis of cancer and will build gradually to offer a full MRI service to around 2,500 patients a year, including scanning of brain, spinal, musculoskeletal, breast, cardiac and oncology conditions.
13 May 2016
Ryan Farquhar Seriously Ill Following Crash At North West 200
County Tyrone rider Ryan Farquhar is seriously ill in hospital following a crash at the North West 200. He sustained chest and pelvis injuries during a collision with another rider on Thursday, 12 May. He is in intensive care at the Royal Victoria Hospital. Dan Cooper was treated for shoulder injuries at Coleraine Hospital and has been discharged.
11 February 2016
Woman Seriously Injured In Co Antrim Road Crash
A woman has been seriously injured in a two-vehicle road crash in Co Antrim. The incident happened on the Lisnavenagh Road just after 9.40am on Thursday. Emergency services attended the scene and the road has been closed between Ballymena and Antrim. The woman is being treated at Antrim Area Hospital.
05 February 2016
Two Motorcyclists Injured In Separate Incidents
Two motorcyclists have been left injured in separate collisions. In Omagh, Co Tyrone, a 20-year-old sustained injuries after her black Honda motorcycle crashed on the Clanabogan Road. Police came across the scene at around 1.35am on Friday. No other vehicle was involved. The woman has been taken to hospital.