The Department of Health has approved South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust proposals for the reshaping of urgent and emergency care services.
The Trust’s plans were the subject of a 12 week public consultation earlier this year.
Phase one will involve a Consultant led Minor Injury Unit (MIU) being established at the Ulster Hospital site. This will replace the MIU at Ards Community Hospital as well as the MIU at Bangor Community Hospital. The Bangor unit has been closed on a temporary basis since 2020.
The new Unit will be open 8am-6pm, 7 days a week.
The Ards Community Hospital unit, which is less than five miles away from the Ulster Hospital site, currently operates 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.
The second phase of the Trust’s reshaping plans will involve provision of a full Urgent Care Centre alongside the new Emergency Department at the Ulster Hospital.
The Department’s approval has been conveyed to the Trust today in a letter from Permanent Secretary Peter May to its Chief Executive Roisin Coulter.
The Permanent Secretary’s letter can be read on the website www.health-ni.gov.uk/publications/letter-re-future-provision-urgent-and-emergency-care-services-ards-north-down
Setting out the factors which led to his decision, Mr May today commented: “I have reviewed the Trust’s consultation outcome in line with Departmental guidance on change or withdrawal of service. I have received advice from the Department of Health’s Strategic Planning and Performance Group and the Public Health Agency.
“I am satisfied that my decision to approve falls within the remit of the Northern Ireland Executive Formation legislation and the associated Guidance published by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.”
The Permanent Secretary continued: “Among the considerations I have taken into account are the improvements which the change will bring. The merged Minor Injury Unit will be open seven days a week for longer hours and will be doctor led which will expand the range of conditions that can be treated.
“The Trust’s plans will also pave the way for the delivery of an Urgent Care Centre in due course after the necessary enabling works have taken place. This development is in line with Departmental policy.”
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