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Pictures reveal state of disrepair at top Northern Ireland hospital

Action demanded over state of mental health unit

By Adrian Rutherford

These pictures show the shocking state of disrepair at one of Northern Ireland's top mental health hospitals.

Paint is crumbling from the walls and window frames have been left to rot in the main building of Holywell Hospital in Antrim.

The appalling conditions were discovered by SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone when he visited the facility after complaints from constituents. He has now called on Health Minister Edwin Poots to take action to address the issue.

The Northern Trust has branded its condition as “unacceptable”.

The pictures have been revealed at a time when the NHS in Northern Ireland is facing a crisis. Earlier this week it was revealed that water had been leaking from the roof of the Royal Jubilee Unit in Belfast, where three babies lost their lives during the pseduomonas outbreak.

As these pictures show, parts of the mental health hospital in Antrim have been allowed to fall into serious disrepair with paint and plaster missing from several walls.

An assessment was carried out by the Northern Trust last May and concluded that both the physical condition of the main building and its engineering were unacceptable.

The functional suitability of the building was also graded as being below a standard that “is reasonable or adequate”.

Mr McGlone called on the Health Minister to take action over the hospital. “The main building at Holywell Hospital is in a very poor state of repair with peeling paint and damaged window frames,” he said.

“I have visited the hospital, and I know the staff provide an excellent care for all the patients, and I would pay tribute to them for their work.

“However, it’s quite clear that some of the buildings are not being properly maintained and I have asked the minister, as a matter of priority, just when the last assessment was made of the state of the building and what the findings were.

“Given that patients at Holywell Hospital are being treated for a wide range of mental health problems, the overall environment in which they are being treated is of great importance.”

Mr McGlone said comfort and safety can significantly aid patients’ recoveries.

But he claimed some of the conditions at Holywell Hospital were not conducive to a feeling of well-being.

“In such a vital area of our health service there is no excuse for neglecting the environment in which patients with mental health problems are being treated,” he added.

A spokesman for the Northern Trust said plans for a new inpatient psychiatric unit at Holywell are being discussed.

“The main building at Holywell Hospital is more that 100 years old and difficult to maintain,” he said. “The patient areas, however, are modern and well maintained and the patient experience is good.”

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