Belfast Telegraph

Health investment 'real and tangible'

By Michael Bashford

North Down and Ards is set to benefit from a £50 million health investment announced last week.

The investment, which will include improvements to, and the replacement of, buildings across the whole trust area and all programmes of care, was confirmed at a board meeting of the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust.

Health Minister Michael McGimpsey met with the trust board members to confirm the funding which will go towards intensive support units for Children's Services in Bangor and Newtownards and a major project to relocate Bayview Resource Centre in Bangor.

The Ulster Hospital, the new Downe Hospital, and Lisburn Assessment Resource Centre will also benefit from the money.

Councillors Alex Easton and Jonathan Bell said the investment would make “a real and tangible improvement to children's health” in the area.

“There is a swathe of research that backs early intervention in health as producing the best and most efficient outcomes and I wish the new intensive support units every success,” they said.

“This positive news of investment in intensive support units for children in Newtownards is especially very welcome indeed.”

Both councillors said they looked forward to seeing the intensive support work enhancing the health of local children from next year.

The chief executive of the south eastern trust, John Compton, said the scale of investment was “substantial” and that between now and March 31, 2008, the trust would be “policing how the money is spent”.

“We are a new trust, and I'm happy to be able to announce this investment as we approach the six-month mark,” Mr Compton said.

“It is positive evidence of our commitment to making things better for our patients and clients and their families.”

Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said the investment was not a simple rebuild of old buildings.

“It is a reform and modernisation programme that will give us a 21st Century infrastructure to provide care for our people, that embraces new technology, new models of care, and new ways of delivering better health and social care services,” he added.

Belfast Telegraph

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