LURGAN Hospital could become one of the province’s new primary care centres.

It’s a move that should guarantee the future of health care in Lurgan for generations to come.

Ulster Unionist MLA Sam Gardiner, who is a member of the Assembly’s Heath Committee, has revealed that Lurgan Hospital is likely to be the chosen site for one of the Province’s new Primary Care Centres, planned by Health Minister Edwin Poots.

He said: “In discussions I had with the Health Minister some months ago in connection with the new Health centre in Banbridge, Lurgan Hospital was mentioned as a likely site in the future for one of the new Primary Care Centres.

“These centres will become the front-line means of delivery for the health service in future and will carry out many functions currently only available in hospitals. It is likely that there will be a major retraining exercise for GP’s to equip them to develop specialisms, and offer additional treatments and therapies, rather like the current GPs with special interests – the so-called “gipsies.

“Hospital based consultants are also likely to hold clinics in these Primary Care centres though the details of this have yet to be fleshed out.”

Mr Gardiner added: “This will guarantee the future of health care in Lurgan for generations to come on the present Lurgan Hospital site.

“I am personally delighted about this very likely development because I have been a strong advocate for Lurgan Hospital for many years. I was delighted to be able to corner some £1.3 million of funding for the refurbishment of the present Hospital last year. I believe the existence of a major health-care facility in the heart of the town is a critical part of maintaining the town’s identity, quite apart from the health benefits it brings.”