Green light for £23m increased bed space at Antrim Hospital

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A business case for 48 new beds at Antrim Hospital at a cost of £23.1m was approved at a meeting of the Northern Health and Social Care Trust board on Thursday.

The development was welcomed by Trust Chief Executive Jennifer Welsh who said: “Everybody is very well aware of the capacity concern we have at the Antrim Hospital site.”

She added that the development would bring “some much-needed” bed capacity to the hospital.

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Director of Finance and Estates Owen Harkin said that although the tender has not been awarded yet, he is “very confident” of approval by the Department of Health.

Speaking at the meeting on Thursday, Mr Harkin said: “The sooner we get these wards on site the better.”

Chair Bob McCann described the increase as “really welcome”.

In October, the intensive care unit at Antrim Hospital relocated to a new ward after moving nine times during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The relocation to the former C6 ward at a cost of £2.38m follows refurbishment involving mechanical, ventilation and electrical requirements in a bid to meet “needs of any surge in the future”, Trust board members were told previously.

The board also heard that this is not a “long-term solution for ICU at the hospital” and a purpose-built ICU is needed to meet the demands of the Northern population.

The facility will enable intensive care for up to 10 ICU patients with further ability to increase to 13 beds in an adjacent area should additional ICU capacity be required for future surges.