Northern Ireland

Ulster Hospital may retain acute mental health services

ulster hospital
Image caption Families and friends of patients say they would have more time to spend visiting them if services remained at the Ulster Hospital site

The Ulster Hospital could remain as the home of acute mental health services in the South Eastern Trust.

A site has become available at Dundonald and is being considered for a new acute mental in-patient building instead of one previously earmarked at the Lagan Valley Hospital in Lisburn.

The trust has said it will make its final decision next month.

Mental heath campaigners living on the Ards Peninsula say a facility in Lisburn is too far away for patients.

Former patient, June Braniff, said it would be a welcome move if services were to remain in Dundonald.

"It would mean patients could have the company of their family and friends for longer times, the journey to Lisburn leaves no time for visiting," she said.

In 2010, the South Eastern Trust said it wanted to move its acute care for mental health in-patients at the Ulster Hospital and Downe Hospital to Lagan Valley Hospital.

In-patient services from both hospitals had been due to be moved to Lisburn by 2015 following a public consultation.

The trust had wanted to transfer ward 27 at the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald to a single mental health unit or 'centre of excellence' at the Lagan Valley Hospital.

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