Green light for £30m health centre plan

DUP representatives Edwin Poots MLA and Sir Jeffrey Donaldson have welcomed the granting of full planning approval for the new health centre project at Lagan Valley Hospital.
DUP representatives Edwin Poots MLA and Sir Jeffrey Donaldson have welcomed the granting of full planning approval for the new health centre project at Lagan Valley Hospital.

Plans for a new £30 million health centre development in Lisburn have officially been given the green light by planners.

At their meeting on Monday, May 8, members of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council’s Planning Committee granted full planning permission for the ambitious project at the Lagan Valley Hospital site.

The new state-of-the-art Lisburn Primary and Community Care Centre will replace the city’s existing health centre at Linenhall Street.

It had been hoped that the new facility would be open by autumn 2019. However, welcoming the committee’s decision to grant planning approval, a spokesperson for the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust revealed that the project is now expected to complete in the spring of 2020.

Construction of the new community health centre is not a capital procurement project, meaning the building will be leased by the Trust from the developer, with the option to purchase upon expiry of the lease.

Welcoming the granting of full planning permission for the project, DUP election candidate Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said he hopes the new health centre development could “pave the way for the reinstatement of seven day cover at the hospital”.

“This decision will not only clear the way for the construction of a new and modern health centre, but crucially it will also help to secure the future of the Lagan Valley as a local hospital,” he said.

“With a fully functioning health centre alongside the hospital facilities, I am hopeful that the South Eastern Trust will now implement the long awaited decision to establish a Minor Injuries Unit at the Lagan Valley Hospital. This much needed treatment facility, combined with the GP ‘Out of Hours’ service, could help to pave the way for the reinstatement of seven day cover once again at the hospital. I want to thank the local GPs and the Trust for pressing on with the new health centre facility and for securing such a significant investment in local healthcare.”

His party colleague, Edwin Poots MLA commented: “I am delighted to have played my part as former Minister of Health in gaining approval for the development of the new community treatment and care centre on the Lagan Valley Hospital site. This £30 million investment is the outworking of the Transforming Your Care programme that I launched when I was Health Minister and I believe it will help to significantly enhance the delivery of primary healthcare and the wellbeing of our local population.

“This new facility will see a much more joined up approach for patients who attend their local GP and there will be direct access to the scanning, diagnostic and treatment facilities at the Lagan Valley Hospital, meaning patients are able to have their conditions diagnosed and treated more quickly. This is what the future of healthcare looks like and Lisburn will be leading the way in Northern Ireland with such a modern and well equipped facility.”

UUP Councillor Alexander Redpath, the chairman of the council’s Planning Committee, added: “I’m delighted that this project received the unanimous support of the committee. This move has been on the cards for a number of years and I’m anxious to move the project forward.

“A key rationale for this move is to strengthen the service offering at the Lagan Valley Hospital site and encourage closer relations between the GPs and hospital staff. I’m fully committed to improving the quality of health services in Lagan Valley and ensuring that patients have the ability to be treated as quickly as possible and as close to home as possible.”