18/06/2008

Single Rooms Promised In Latest Ulster Hospital Phase

It will be hotel-style care for patients from east Belfast and North Down soon with an announcement today of a £multi-million investment to give the Ulster Hospital new ward accommodation, based on 100% single rooms - with no more 'Nightingale-style' wards.

The NI Health Minister Michael McGimpsey has announced a major capital investment of £190 million at the hospital in Dundonald.

He said this money will provide new ward accommodation - based on 100% single rooms - an Accident & Emergency department; imaging (X-Ray) department; mortuary; a coronary care unit; pharmacy and a new entrance block as well as essential support functions.

In 2006, the then NIO Health Minister Shaun Woodward originally announced £100 million for the first phase of investment for the Ulster Hospital.

This money provided seven new theatres, a 16-bed critical care unit, new laboratories and a sterile services department. In addition, a new state-of-the-art renal unit and maternity unit were completed.

At the time, he said that the investment - over a decade - would reach a total of £340 million.

Announcing the latest move today, Mr McGimpsey said: "I am delighted today to be able to instruct the trust to take the necessary steps to proceed immediately with the planning of a £190 million further phase of the redevelopment of this site.

"The investment will help ensure that the hospital is able to continue delivering modern, safe and high quality acute services to meet the needs of the patients it serves.

"The new ward accommodation comprising 100% single rooms again reaffirms my determination and commitment to tackle the problems of hospital associated infection, and to improve privacy," he said.

The investment - which is part of a wider phased capital development programme at the Ulster - has already seen recent major redevelopment of clinical services and site infrastructure.

The Minister added: "This project is just one component of a major programme of capital investment in the health and social care infrastructure across Northern Ireland."

Speaking for the South Eastern Trust, John Compton, Chief Executive, said: "I am extremely pleased with today's announcement. Staff in the trust will be working hard to meet the Minister's timetable and I am confident we can achieve that outcome.

"The new facility will provide a modern environment for patients and staff alike of which we will rightly be very proud."

The new development is expected to be complete and open by 2013.

See: £100 million boost for Ulster Hospital

(BMcC)

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