HEALTH Minister Edwin Poots this week cut the first sod on the site of Antrim Area Hospital’s new £9 million emergency department.
Describing the future state-of-the art A&E as “a new era” for the hospital and “the people it serves” the Health Minister said the new build will provide secure, safe, high quality services to patients throughout the Northern Trust.
The unit will include patient resuscitation areas, isolation rooms, additional diagnostic rooms with X-ray and CT facilities and clinical decision areas.
It is one of a number of capital projects currently underway at the Antrim Hospital site. While on his visit on Monday, the Minister also cut the sod on a new 24 bed general medicine unit at the hospital.
When completed, the new ward will help the Trust address the pressures and demands for beds at the site.
Speaking on Monday, Mr Poots said: “The construction of units like these at Antrim is another signal that our service is undergoing a transformation. We are now engaging in a process that will change forever the way we deliver care. We are now implementing Transforming Your Care, a Review of Health and Social Care, to improve patient outcomes. We are putting in place a model where there will be a significant shift from provision of services in hospitals to provision of services closer to home, in the community or in the GP surgery where it is safe to do this. It will mean more services will become increasingly accessible and will put patients at the centre of decision making about their treatment. While we aim to help more people to access care away from hospitals, we recognise that provision of safe and quality care in hospitals will always be very important. I believe these new units will offer a setting that ensure the highest quality of care for those that need it.
“The construction of the new emergency department and ward mark the beginning of a new era for Antrim Area Hospital and for the people it serves. These modern facilities will be constructed using the latest innovations in design and technology and will be well-equipped to provide secure, safe, high quality services to patients. These new facilities will enable all hospital staff to deliver a better a service to the public. Patients and their families will be provided with a wide range of services in an appropriate, comfortable and caring environment.
The Minister also praised thew work to date of staff at the hospital.
“I must also pay tribute to the nurses, doctors, ancillary workers and administration staff who have worked tirelessly in sometimes very difficult conditions to provide the best care possible for the people of this area. I am sure that every member of staff is looking forward to the day when these facilities are ready,” he said.
Chief Executive at the Northern Trust Sean Donaghy, described the new build as the future of health provision.
He said: “We are delighted to be cutting the first sod on this new development.
“The current Accident & Emergency (A&E) Department was built 17 years ago and was designed to accommodate 40,000 attendances per annum. Last year (2010/2011) there were 73,000 attendances. The new Emergency Department will be a flexible state of the art department that will be fit for the 21st Century. It will be designed to HBN 22 and has been designed to accommodate 90,000 attendances per annum.
“The design of the new Emergency Department is planned to improve the patient’s flow and experience, providing a safe and secure working environment for staff and visitors,” said the Chief Executive.
“The environment ensures the protection of patient’s privacy and maintenance of their dignity with all treatment areas being designed as single rooms except for the five bedded Resus area and the eight recliners in the Clinical Decision Area.
“The 24 bedded medial ward will be the first ward within the hospital to have 100% single rooms, each with its own en-suite facilities. Staff will have direct lines of sight into these rooms from the nurse base. One of the rooms will be an isolation room with negative air pressure to further assist the nursing of a patient with an infection illness.”