Proposals to centre stroke, dementia and elderly care at Craigavon have been approved by the Southern Trust Board.
The plans were given the go-ahead following an extended period of public consultation.
They will result in a single specialist stroke inpatient unit at Craigavon Area Hospital and the relocation of dementia inpatient servies from the Gillis Unit, Armagh to a new build at Craigavon.
Meanwhile, all non-acute, inpatient services for older people will be located at Daisy Hill and Craigavon Hospitals, with the development of a new, non-acute unit at Craigavon to replace inpatient services at Loane House, South Tyrone and Lurgan Hospital.
Trust chief executive Mairead McAlinden said, “During our 20-week consultation period, we met with many public representatives, organisations that advocate for service users, partner organisations and staff from across the trust and we listened carefully to their views on our proposals.
“We received over 150 direct responses and a petition with over 8,000 signatures, and we have considered all the points made in these written proposals alongside the views expressed in our face-to-face meetings.
“I hope that these detailed discussions, together with the trust’s written response to the issues raised over the course of the consultation period, will assure people that the trust is focused on providing better care in a way that we can sustain into the future.”
Trust chair Roberta Brownlee added, “I am extremely grateful to everyone who took the time to meet with us and to respond to the consultation paper.
“All responses were fully considered and the key issues discussed by the trust board before reaching a decision.
“Our plans set out a clear direction for how services must change in future if we are to maintain and develop hospital-based care that is of the highest quality, meets national standards and guidelines and meets the needs of the population.”
She said the plans could take up to three years to put in place and, in the meantime, the trust will continue to engage with users, carers, staff and the local community as it develops the implementation plans.