Work begins on new A&E unit at Antrim

Edwin Poots, Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety; Jim Stewart, Chairman, Northern Trust; Rev William McCrea MP and Alison Renfrew, Assistant Director Capital Development, Northern Trust. INNT 11-510CON
Edwin Poots, Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety; Jim Stewart, Chairman, Northern Trust; Rev William McCrea MP and Alison Renfrew, Assistant Director Capital Development, Northern Trust. INNT 11-510CON

SOUTH Antrim MP William McCrea joined Health Minister Edwin Poots at Antrim Area Hospital last week as he cut the first sod on the site of the new £9million emergency department.

The new state-of-the-art A&E unit will provide services for up to 90,000 patients annually. It will include patient resuscitation areas, isolation rooms, additional diagnostic rooms with X-ray and CT facilities and clinical decision areas.

The construction of the unit is one of a number of capital projects currently under way at the Antrim Hospital site. While on his visit, the Minister also cut the sod on a new 24-bed general medicine unit at the hospital, and officially opened the new £5.36million Macmillan Unit - the first specialist palliative care unit to be built in collaboration between a trust and voluntary sector partner.

“The construction of the new emergency department and ward mark the beginning of a new era for Antrim Area Hospital and for the people it serves. These modern facilities will be constructed using the latest innovations in design and technology and will be well-equipped to provide secure, safe, high quality services to patients,” Mr Poots commented.

Dr McCrea, who has raised concerns on several occasions about the ability of the existing A&E department at Antrim to cope with the additional demand for services since the closure of the casualty units at the Whiteabbey and Mid-Ulster Hospitals, welcomed the start of work on the new emergency care facility.

While praising hospital staff for their hard work and dedication, often in very challenging circumstances, the DUP man said that he would continue pushing Trust management to implement measures to help cut unacceptable A&E waiting times.

“As MP for South Antrim I will always press for the highest possible quality of care for my constituents and will not accept anything else,” he said.