Lisburn Primary and Community Care Centre

Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:00 pm on 26th April 2021.

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Photo of Robbie Butler Robbie Butler UUP 2:00 pm, 26th April 2021

2. Mr Butler asked the Minister of Health for an update on the development of the Lisburn Primary and Community Care Centre. (AQO 1920/17-22)

Photo of Robin Swann Robin Swann UUP

I thank the Member for his question. Lisburn Primary and Community Care Centre at Lagan Valley Hospital will provide fit-for-purpose accommodation for seven GP practices, selected acute outpatient services and a large number of trust services, many of which will be relocated from Lisburn Health Centre, Warren Children's Centre and other leased premises, namely TSL House. The new development will help to enable greater management of chronic conditions in the community and will be closer to patients' homes through the collocation and integration of GP practices alongside multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) in a functionally suitable building.

Construction of a new primary and community care centre is progressing well and is scheduled for completion in June 2021. Following a period of commissioning, it is anticipated that the building will open to patients in late autumn or winter this year.

Photo of Robbie Butler Robbie Butler UUP

I thank the Minister for his answer. He mentioned the role for multidisciplinary teams. Does he agree with me that their inclusion, particularly with regard to mental health, in settings such as Lisburn Primary and Community Care Centre, will result in a more holistic approach and better well-being for our community?

Photo of Robin Swann Robin Swann UUP

I know that the Member has an interest in this issue, especially in regard to mental health support and provision. The primary care multidisciplinary team model introduces new physiotherapy, social work and mental health roles into GP practices to work alongside enhanced levels of nursing staff and the existing practice team. It aims to move from a system of treating illness to holistically supporting good physical and mental health and social well-being.

In the South Eastern Trust, MDTs have been fully implemented in the Down GP federation, accompanied by a small introduction jointly in Ards and north Down. While a formal evaluation of the MDT programme is under way, it is clear that the model is already impacting positively on some of the core services in the South Eastern Trust, such as physiotherapy and mental health.

My Department and the Health and Social Care Board are engaged in a process to develop a road map for the implementation of MDTs across all the remaining GP federations, including Lisburn. That involves engaging with those in general practice and the health and social care trusts to agree realistic and achievable proposals, which will then be aligned with overall strategic priorities and the current or emerging pressures.

Development of the road map is expected to be completed before the summer. It will enable robust planning on the cost and timescale of the roll-out of the model for the remainder of Northern Ireland. Further roll-out of the model is, however, dependent on the availability of a suitably qualified and experienced workforce, readiness of accommodation, and the appropriate funding. However, MDTs are not the only initiative in place to support those working in primary care.

Photo of Liz Kimmins Liz Kimmins Sinn Féin

I thank the Minister for his answer. It is good to hear about the progress in Lisburn. As a former employee at Lisburn health centre, I know that a lot of my former colleagues will be delighted to hear that it is progressing as it is.

Minister, will you provide an update on the Newry Community Treatment and Care Centre, and what funding has been set aside for new primary care hubs?

Photo of Robin Swann Robin Swann UUP

I thank the Member for her support. I am sure that her former colleagues, too, will be pleased that we are making positive progress in that area.

The Newry Community Treatment and Care Centre project involves the provision of a new 12,600 square metre primary care facility to provide fit-for-purpose accommodation for general medical services (GMS), selected acute outpatient and diagnostic services and a large number of multidisciplinary teams, many of which will be relocated from outlying sites and leased premises.

The Newry project was initiated under ministerial direction in March 2013. It experienced delay, primarily as a result of protracted negotiations over planning permission between the contractor and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council. Planning permission was approved on 1 July 2020. Departmental officials are considering whether the project should now move to full business case stage. I will update the Member when that is received.