SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone, has urged the Department of Health to set a date for the development of a new-build mental health facility at the Antrim Area Hospital site. Along with party colleague John Dallat, MLA, Mr McGlone met with Dr Tony Stevens and senior officials at the Northern Health and Social Care Trust on Wednesday.
Speaking today Mr McGlone said, “I have written today to Richard Pengelly, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health, urging the Department to set a time-frame for a decision on a new-build mental health facility at the Antrim Area site.
“Over the last number of years, I have been concerned at the deteriorating state of the old building that is currently used for mental health provision at Hollywell. The patient’s environment can be an important element for recovering health, and particularly so when it comes to recovering mental health. I have also lobbied previous Ministers on the urgent need for a new-build facility at the site.
“During a meeting on Wednesday with Dr Tony Stevens and senior officials at the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, my colleague John Dallat and I learned that development of a new-build mental health facility at the Antrim site is now a priority for decision at the Department.
“In the absence of a functioning Executive it is imperative that the Department do not delay the development of this essential part of our health care system.
“At the meeting with the Northern Trust we also took the opportunity to highlight the lack of provision of domicile care workers in rural parts of the Northern Trust area. This prevents many vulnerable people getting the care they need in their community, increases the instances of rural isolation, and puts further pressure on our health service.
“The SDLP will continue to press the Department of Health to take the necessary decisions to ensure that our health service is fit for purpose. Those most vulnerable in our society, particularly in rural areas, should not suffer as a result of the dereliction of duty by other parties. ”