THE Health Minister has visited Holywell Hospital, weeks after it was announced that work on a new replacement facility is finally set to begin.
A spokesperson for the Northern Health and Social Care Trust said: “We were delighted to welcome Health Minister Robin Swann to Holywell Hospital, to meet staff and show his appreciation to the Mental Health workforce in Northern Ireland.
“Minister Swann had the opportunity to meet staff from all disciplines across a number of wards on the Holywell Hospital site.
Mr Swann himself commented: “When I publish the 10 year mental health strategy next year it is important that it considers the voices of the workforce.
“This is a valuable opportunity for me to learn first-hand of their experiences.”
Staff also took the opportunity to brief Minister Swann on the plans and progress for the new purpose built Mental Health Inpatient Facility on the Antrim Area Hospital site which will provide 134 beds.
An outline business case for the £88m facility on the outskirts of Antrim has now been approved.
Last year the Northern Health and Social Care Trust said it was hoped the business case for a new acute inpatient mental health admission facility would be approved in 2019/20.
It was predicted then that the scheme would take between four and four-and-a-half years to complete, subject to all approvals of funding being in place.
The development will include 80 acute beds, 20 dementia beds, 12 psychiatric intensive care beds, 12 rehabilitation beds and addiction support services.
Construction is set to begin in 2022.