New mental health facility ‘a priority’

SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone says the Coagh community is absolutely shocked by the deaths
SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone says the Coagh community is absolutely shocked by the deaths

SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone, is urging the Department for Health to set a date for the development of a new-build mental health facility at the Antrim Area Hospital site.

Along with party colleague John Dallat, MLA, Mr McGlone met with Dr Tony Stevens and senior officials at the Northern Health and Social Care Trust on Wednesday.

Speaking today Mr McGlone said, “I have written today to Richard Pengelly, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Health, urging the Department to set a time-frame for a decision on a new-build mental health facility at the Antrim Area site.

“Over the last number of years, I have been concerned at the deteriorating state of the old building that is currently used for mental health provision at Hollywell. The patient’s environment can be an important element for recovering health, and particularly so when it comes to recovering mental health. I have also lobbied previous Ministers on the urgent need for a new-build facility at the site.

“During a meeting on Wednesday with Dr Tony Stevens and senior officials at the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, my colleague John Dallat and I learned that development of a new-build mental health facility at the Antrim site is now a priority for decision at the Department.

“In the absence of a functioning Executive it is imperative that the Department do not delay the development of this essential part of our health care system.”

Mr McGlone said they also highlighted the lack of provision of domicile care workers in rural parts of the Northern Trust area, which prevented vulnerable people from getting the care they need in their community.