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Go-ahead for £16.5m health centre in town

By Nigel Gould

Health Minister Paul Goggins has given the go-ahead for a brand new £16.5m Health and Care Centre in Portadown.

Craigavon and Banbridge Community Health and Social Services Trust can now go to tender for the construction of the new centre.

Outline designs for it have already won a Best Future Design award at a recent Building Better Healthcare Awards ceremony in London.

Mr Goggins said: "This new Health and Care Centre will be a centre of excellence providing the best possible primary care services for the people of Portadown. The centre will integrate a comprehensive range of clinical services under the same roof as the GP practices, dentistry and pharmacy.

"This Health and Care Centre is a major development within a £548m investment in the Primary and Community Care Infrastructure.

"The centre forms part of the planned £2.9m programme of investment in health and social services which is being delivered by my Department with the support of the Strategic Investment Board."

Commenting on the design award the Minister added: "This proposal highlights the way in which health professionals can work with the local community to develop an award winning design, combining the latest health care facilities with other community services in what could become a focal point for regeneration in this area of the town."

The Portadown Health and Care Centre is located at Tavanagh Avenue in Portadown.

The Portadown development will combine the original GP practices, nursing and limited treatment and therapy services with a range of new primary care services to be developed in coming years.

These services include: minor surgery; audiology; pharmacy; radiology and ultrasound; psychiatry; ECG; telemedicine and dentistry.

An allocation for replacement of the Portadown Health and Social Services Centre was included in the £2.9 billion investment programme announced for health and social services over the next 10 years in the Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland in December 2005.

It is planned to put in place 42 centres and other primary and community care facilities with an investment of £548m over the next 10 years.

The Craigavon and Banbridge Community HSS Trust has won a major accolade at this year's 'Building Better Healthcare' awards for the design of the planned Health and Care Centre at Tavanagh Avenue, Portadown.

The awards, now in their eighth year, publicly recognise the achievements of trusts working in collaboration with healthcare design and the construction community. At the awards ceremony in the Hilton Metropole, London, the design for the new Portadown Health and Care Centre received the 'Best Future Design Award'.

Primary care services accounts for approximately 90% of the activity in Northern Ireland's health and social care system.

In February 2003 the Department undertook a survey of the public to help determine the level of satisfaction with current services. At least 89% of respondents viewed primary care services as satisfactory or better. (Public Consultation Survey to Inform the DHSSPS Regional Strategy on Health and Social Wellbeing, July 2003).

'Caring for People Beyond Tomorrow' was developed as an integral part of the Department's Regional Strategy, focusing on the future, considering the potential changes and challenges that primary care, along with the wider health and social care service, are likely to meet.

These include changes in the population, increased incident of long-term conditions, technological advances and many developments brought about by people involved in delivering primary health and social care services.

Belfast Telegraph


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