Francie Molloy MLA visits Macmillan Unit

MID-ULSTER MLA Francie Molloy has commended the work of a new pallative care unit serving the Northern Trust.

Mr Molloy says he hopes to see the Macmillan Unit, based at Antrim Area Hospital, replicated in other areas of the pprovince following a visit to the centre last week.

The Unit provides the only specialist NHS palliative care beds available within Northern Ireland.

The Unit will ensure people in the Northern Trust area will get high quality end of life care, whether they have cancer or another kind of life limiting illness.

Opened earlier this year, the unit has 12-ensuite bedrooms for cancer patients and overnight accommodation for relatives. As well as specialist medical care, patients and their families can also access emotional and financial support, complementary therapies and respite care. The Unit will also have outpatient services for people who need day care but who don’t need to stay in the unit.

Speaking about his visit to the Macmillan Unit, Mr Molloy MLA said: “Firstly I would like to thank everyone I met at the Macmillan Unit for the warm welcome I received.

“I was extremely impressed at the level of planning that went into this unit. It is evident that a holistic approach has been taken to address the needs of both the patient and their families. It is vital that people receive as much support as possible at such a difficult time. A facility such as this has been long overdue and I would hope it will be replicated in other locations.

The MLA added: “The Macmillan nurses are to be commended for the invaluable work that the do. The Unit is a credit to all those involved and the ability of Macmillan Cancer Support to make a financial contribution to enhance this unit is a testimony to their excellent fund raising efforts and the generosity of the public.”

Outlining the support and care available at the unit, Lorna Nevin, Service Lead for Palliative Care with the Northern Trust, said: “We have developed a clear vision for Palliative Care Services in the Northern Trust. We know that people want to be cared for as long as possible in their own homes, and to spend their last days at home with family and friends.

“The Macmillan Unit is a vital component of that vision where people can be treated, stabilised and returned home. However, if they choose to die in hospital the unit will provide a reassuring and supportive environment,” said Lorna.

“This is the first Specialist Palliative Care Inpatient Unit, built in partnership between the Northern Trust and the voluntary sector, providing specialist palliative care beds for patients within the Northern Trust area.

“Our partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support has enabled us to fulfil a mutual vision for excellence in the provision of palliative care services.”