A new £9 million mental health facility which has opened in south Belfast will make a real difference to young people, Health Minister Michael McGimpsey has said.
And after visiting Beechcroft, the new Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit at the Forster Green Hospital site, he paid tribute to its work.
“I am impressed by this new state of the art facility, which provides 18 places for young people aged between 13 and 18 — more beds than were previously available,” he said.
“There will also be provision for overnight accommodation for parents.
“This is part of a major investment in mental health facilities planned over the next 10 years.
“These services will make a real and lasting difference to patients and their families, in an area of care which has for too long been neglected and under-funded.”
Beechcroft began admitting patients when it opened several weeks ago.
It provides 18 single bed, en-suite rooms and living accommodation which includes day rooms, dining rooms and quiet areas.
There are also therapy and education facilities and support accommodation for staff.
A recreation hall and outdoor recreational area are provided for the patients.
The minister described the new facility as “yet another example of investment in health and social care services”.
“I have worked with the (Health) Trusts to identify their key priorities for the next 10 years,” he explained.
“By continuing to invest in our services I am committed to securing the best quality and value health and social care services for the public, within limited resources available.”
During his visit Mr McGimpsey also viewed progress on the adjacent new £6.4million Children's Unit.
This facility is due to be completed in May.