Health Minister Michelle O’Neill has paid tribute to the invaluable work at the Hospice following an extensive £13million refurbishment at their Somerton Road premises.
The Minister visited the new facility following a two year construction project. The new 18 bed unit will provide palliative care for patients with a wide range of life-limiting illnesses and will also operate a special service for people with dementia.
The Minister said: “This wonderful modern facility provides much needed care, and I am pleased that my Department was able to provide £2.7million of capital funding to ensure its completion. This was a substantial contribution to the overall funding and it is very satisfying to see such an excellent end result.”
The Minister paid tribute to the valuable work done by hospices here to deliver quality palliative and end of life care for adults and children, both as inpatients and in people’s homes and local communities.
She said: “The NI Hospice plays a key part in caring for and supporting people with palliative and end of life care needs, as well as their families and carers, often when they are at their most vulnerable. I want to express my appreciation for the many staff and volunteers for their professionalism, commitment and dedication. Thanks to them, significant progress has been made to improve the quality of palliative and end of life care in the north.
“I also want to assure people of my commitment, and that of my Department and the wider health and social care system, to continuing to improve care for people with palliative and end of life care needs.”
Chief Executive Heather Weir said: “On behalf of everyone at Northern Ireland Hospice, we would like to extend a warm welcome to our new Minister For Health. The new Northern Ireland Hospice, which opened just seven days ago, is a state of the art dementia friendly centre for specialist palliative care. Delivering symptom management, end of life care and respite care, the new Hospice facility is fit for the future needs of local people. Care can now be extended beyond cancer diagnosis to offer palliative care to those with neurological and respiratory conditions and those with a dementia diagnosis. The new Hospice also encompasses a dedicated Education and Research Centre, placing NI Hospice at the very heart of the drive to extend a palliative care approach, training healthcare professionals both locally and internationally. We are delighted that the Minister has visited us so soon after her appointment and we look forward to building a meaningful and positive relationship with her and her team across both our Adult and Children’s Hospice services.’’
Notes to editors:
- The Northern Ireland Hospice (NIH) was established in 1981 and provides a range of services including specialist palliative care both to inpatients and in the community; a regional educational and development service in palliative care; support to carers caring at home; and a bereavement programme for relatives and friends of patients.
- Presently, NIH cares for around 3,000 adults, young people and children each year through the adult Inpatient Unit, Day Hospice services, hospice at home care and at the NI Children’s Hospice (NICH) based at Horizon House in Belfast.
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