Speculation over the development site for the newly announced £40m health hub in Newry City could if correct witness a domino effect on medical and educational buildings. The long awaited green light given this week from the Minister for Health Edwin Poots on the multi million pound project will begin to reach fruition sometime in 2014. The outreaching of services in the Southern Trust to the community such as the health hub could start to seeing a lowering of medical treatment at Daisy Hill Hospital. The Newry Masterplan is core to the future programme for development in the city. As existing health sites are sold it could create more opportunity for the expansion of the Southern Regional College in the heart of the city. The completion of Phase II of the new build leisure centre at Rooney’s Meadow will also free up a site for development as the old sports centre eventually closes. A spokesperson for the Southern Trust told the Newry Reporter that it had not yet confirmed a site for the health hub. ” There has been no site identified at this point for the health hub And no decision made about the old health centre (Cornmarket) has been reached ,” said the spokesperson. The key to the health initiative relies on third party development which will finance the project and lease it back to GPs in line with Transforming Your Care which will cut hospital budgets by five per cent. It is generally believed that St Clare’s Primary School could provide the site for the health hub whenever the Department of Education delivers a new build for the new co-ed Abbey and St Clare’s School at the former monastery site on Courtenay Hill. However other areas have come to the table with the old tax office and Fiveways roundabout area thought to be in contention. The appraisal of potential sites is thought to be reaching a conclusion before the summer. The trust has said that it believes work on the high-tec service will begin very soon with “the procurement process to commence in May/June 2013” with the first sod to be cut early next year and completion in 2016. Chairman of the Southern Local Commissioning Group (LCG) Sheelin McKeagney has welcomed the announcement . “The development will see the provision Of a new state of the art health and care facility which is required for the residents living in the Newry and Mourne area,” said Mr McKeagney. The new facilities provided at the health hub will include a range of services including diagnostic services, district nursing and specialist nurses, older people services, children services, mental health services, integrated clinical assessment and treatment services, community dentistry, allied health professional – physiotherapy, podiatry, outpatient as well as clinics, voluntary groups and one stop assessments. “The Southern LCG looks forward to providing more care and treatment that can be delivered closer to the patient and service users to deliver care in people’s own homes where appropriate,” he added. CEO of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust Mairead McAlinden believes that the new health hub wilkl provide a high level medical centre for the ever growing population. “This trust has long sought replacement accommodation for our staff working in the Newry area so we are delighted with this news,” said Ms McAlinden. “I have no doubt that it will further support our aim of providing safe high quality care and will be of great benefit to the local population,” she added.
17th April 2013