Thursday 24 April 2014 10:58:36 AM

New GP and Patient Centre Opens At the Downe Hospital
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HEALTH Minister Edwin Poots has officially opened up the new GP and Primary Care Centre at the main Downe Hospital in Downpatrick saying this is an important step towards the healthcare of the future.

Replacing and improving on the former Pound Lane clinic damaged by fires, the model of integrated care, where two parts of the system – hospital and community- work together for the benefit of the patient, is a key element of  the ‘Transforming Your Care’ initiative.

Downpatrick GP’€™s Dr Moore and Dr Small GP with SEHSCT Chief Executive Hugh McCaughey, Health Minister Edwin Poots MLA and Joan Owens, Treatment Room Nurse.

Speaking at the launch today (Wednesday 17 January), the Minister said: “This is a superb facility and one which will bring real benefits to people from the Downpatrick area.

“My aim, which has been reinforced by the Transforming Your Care report, is that the services provided by Health and Social Care are fit for purpose to meet the needs of patients, clients and local communities.

“This means more care provided outside hospitals and in the community, closer to people’s homes. This will help people to live independently for as long as possible and reduce avoidable hospital admissions. This centre is a perfect example of this model of care.”

“The previous facilities had been in great need of repair and did not meet the standards of a modern facility. Locating the new Health Centre within the Downe Hospital provides a modern, accessible facility for patients.

“This new facility is exactly the sort of high quality health centre that the people of Northern Ireland deserve from their health and social services. It will offer an extensive range of community services like Specialist Nursing, Speech and Language therapy and Adult Mental Health services all delivered in a modern state of the art facility.”

Hugh McCaughey, Chief Executive of the South Eastern HSC Trust, added: “This is an important day and will bring real benefit to patients. This model means GPs, other community health professionals and hospital staff will all be in the same location. We can work better together to keep people well.”

The new GP and community facility replaces the Pound Lane Health Centre in Downpatrick, which was badly damaged by two fires in November 2008. Construction of the new centre began in October 2011 and the two GP practices of Dr Small/ Dr Moore and Dr McGoldrick/Dr O’Connor transferred in April 2012, followed by a wide range of community services such as district nursing, podiatry, community dentistry, physiotherapy and pain management in June 2012.

The Health Centre is a stand-alone unit within the main hospital building, in addition to other dedicated services including the Midwifery Led Unit, Children’s Centre and GP Out Of Hours Service. These services enable the integration and future sustainability of Health and Social Care services for the local community and has been endorsed in‘Transforming Your Care’.

Patients attending the new facility can avail of the hospital’s excellent general facilities including car parking, café, restaurant and shop. Feedback received from patients on the new facilities has been overwhelmingly positive.

Ritchie Welcomes New Patient Centre at Downe

Speaking after attending the official opening of the GP Surgery and Primary Care Centre in the Downe Hospital, South Down MP Margaret Ritchie said:

“The new GP facilities replacing the  Pound Lane Surgery in Downpatrick will be very welcome for patients and staff who have had to cope with interim accommodation since the fire at the Pound Lane surgery in 2008/09

“It would be my hope that the accommodation of Primary Care Facilities within the Downe Hospital will lead to further developments in care for patients of the GP surgery.

“The issue of accessibility for the pubic to the new GP surgery is of paramount importance. I have raised the matter with Translink calling for more regular bus services to the Downe Hospital and the adjoining Downshire Civic Estate, where we have a wealth of public service now located. Local accessibility at the point of delivery is crucial to the sustainability of any service.

“We must also continue to campaign for additional medical services at the Downe Hospital and ensure that inpatients services are extended and improved upon. With the Ulster hospital struggling to cope with pressures I will be continuing the campaign for additional inpatient and consultant/clinical services to be located at the Downe Hospital. I have raised this with both the Minister for Health and the Chief Executive of the South Eastern Health Trust and discussed this with them both during the official opening event.”

Ms Ritchie added that the Downe Hospital has the capacity within the population mass to deliver additional hospital services to the community saying: “The Health Trust and the Department must explore the Downe hospitals capacity and the wealth of medical expertise and skills of the staff at the Downe Hospital, and address the problems they are now encountering in the Ulster Hospital.”

Ruane Says Centre Will Benefit Area for Years to Come

Sinn Féin MLA Caitriona Ruane attended the official opening of the GP and Primary Care Centre unit at Downe Hospital and said that the state-of-the-art facilities will help service the health needs of the local population for years to come.

Ms. Ruane said:  “This unit is a great example of how we can integrate community and hospital care under one building to provide a range of services that compliment each other.

“The local community will undoubtedly benefit from a facility like this new unit as many services can now be accessed I one place.  I am delighted that as well as physical health there is also a focus on mental health provision within the building.

“It is important that in Transforming Your Care policy that we improve the health provision on offer and this new facility will go some way to doing just that.”

The full range of services to be provided is:

*  Two GP Practices:  *  District Nursing  *  Treatment Room Nursing  *  Health Visiting  *  Specialist Nursing  *  Podiatry  *  Community Dentistry  *  Social Care:  Care Management  *  Assessment / Rehabilitation /Intermediate Care  *  Speech and Language Therapy  *  Physiotherapy  *  Adult Mental Health  *  Mental Health Older Person Team  *  Pain Management  *  Addictions Clinic    *  Orthopaedic ICATS  *  Sensory Support.