Go-ahead for mental healthcare unit
Plans to build a new £32 million mental healthcare unit in Belfast have been given the go-ahead.
The facility, which will include a 74-bed acute mental health unit and a six-bed psychiatric intensive care ward, will centralise care at the Belfast City Hospital site.
Health Minister Edwin Poots welcomed the planning approval.
He said: "This represents a further key stage in the development of this important and much-needed project. This new state of the art facility, when complete, will make a real and lasting difference to the lives of many patients and families across Northern Ireland.
"One in four people in Northern Ireland will experience some form of mental ill health in their lives and more needs to be done to tackle the issue. This new facility will help provide much more support, better services and treatment."
There were no objections to the proposal to demolish and replace outdated hospital buildings on the Lisburn Road site.
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan, who signed off on the plans, said: "This development will create one centre that will rationalise and modernise the facilities in which acute inpatient mental health services are provided.
"It is welcome that this decision, which helps to provide a much-needed health facility, has been turned around quickly."
The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust has estimated that about 680 construction jobs could be created as a result of the project.