Craigavon would be the main centre for in-patient stroke, elderly and dementia care, under proposals for the modernisation of services.
A four-month consultation on the plans, which ends tomorrow (Friday), would also see Daisy Hill provide acute in-patient care while beds at Lurgan and South Tyrone would close.
The trust is also proposing the development of a ‘hyper-acute’ stroke unit at Craigavon Hospital - evidence shows that early treatment and rapid access to specialist stroke care improves survival and recovery. Meanwhile, emergency stroke treatment will still be available at Daisy Hill.
It also proposes relocating dementia inpatient care from the Gillis Unit in Armagh to a new unit on the Craigavon site, providing beds and specially trained clinical staff for rehabilitation for older people and dementia assessment.
If the proposal goes ahead, the new units will be built in 2016/2017, with the beds relocated during the same period.
The Southern Health and Social Care Trust says the proposals will enable all patients to have equal care, irrespective of age.
A hospital spokesperson said that elderly patients, including those with dementia, often have other health problems, and need to be close to acute services.
Trust chief executive Mairead McAlinden said, “The principle behind our proposals is that, regardless of age, everyone has the same right to the expert health care they need. It is our plan that whenever anyone needs health or social care they will be treated in the right place, by the most appropriate person and in a timely and compassionate way.
“Increasingly, hospital stays are for a short, acute illness or injury with ongoing specialist care provided outside hospital. Our proposals reflect how health care is changing and we want to be able to maximise the skills and expertise of our staff to meet the challenges of providing care to our local community.”
Details of the consultation can be found at www.southerntrust.hscni.net/about/TYCConsultations2014.htm