£4.7m expansion at Bluestone underway

THE first sod has been cut in the £4.7million phase two development of the mental health unit at Craigavon Area Hospital.

Health Minister Edwin Poots visited the site last Thursday ahead of work on the new psychiatric intensive care Unit and adult learning disability Assessment Unit getting underway this week.

The Minister said: “This new development at the Bluestone Unit will be a welcome addition for people in the Southern Trust area. It will centralise inpatient mental health and learning disability services and will provide a modern integrated care service with 94 beds for mental health and learning disability on one site, and provide rapid access to acute emergency and diagnostic services.

“I believe that it is vitally important that health and social care services should be driven by, and responsive to the needs of all our population, including people with mental health issues and learning disabilities. This project delivers the Bamford recommendation that people with a mental illness and a learning disability have access to mainstream mental health services and acute hospital services, where necessary.”

The 10-bed psychiatric intensive care unit and 10-bed adult learning disability assessment unit will give rapid access to acute emergency and diagnostic services.

Roberta Brownlee, chairperson of the Southern Trust, added: “The new units will complement the current 74 beds at the Bluestone Unit which currently provides adult inpatient services for the populations of Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon, Dungannon and South Tyrone, and Newry and Mourne. This is a very welcome development and will provide improved privacy and dignity to patients and visitors.”

The design team on the £4.7million project is Milligan Reside Larkin Chartered Architects and Farrans Construction is the appointed contractor. Work is due to be completed by June 2014.