A £6.9m investment is on the way to upgrade paediatric services at Craigavon Area Hospital.
The investment is part of a £15 million development plan to modernise hospital services for children and young people across the Southern Trust.
All planned paediatric surgery for the Southern Trust will be centralised in a new £8.4m purpose-built centre of excellence at Daisy Hill Hospital.
A design team has been appointed to plan the capital development at both hospitals with construction work currently expected to be completed in 2017.
The Minister said, “In these hard economic times, this is excellent news for children and young people in the Southern Trust Area.
“This development of children’s services at Daisy Hill and Craigavon Area hospitals clearly demonstrates my commitment to improving the lives of Northern Ireland’s children and young people, and it is a real and tangible sign to the people of the Southern Trust area that a new development will be delivered as promised.
“This capital project represents a major investment for the area, not only terms of health and social care but also for the construction industry. I am confident that the local economy will benefit from the project by not only securing, but creating employment in this challenging economic climate.”
Southern Trust chief executive Mairead McAlinden, said, “I am extremely grateful to the Minister, particularly in the current difficult financial climate, for this decision to prioritise capital investment in children’s services in Daisy Hill and Craigavon hospitals.
“We see this next phase as a major step forward in achieving the highest standards of care for our children and young people when they need hospital care.
“This is another example of how Daisy Hill and Craigavon Hospitals are working together to provide a network of high quality hospital care to the population of the Southern Trust and beyond.”