Oakridge centre still a ‘priority’

A new build for Oakridge Social Education Centre remains the “priority one scheme” for the Southern Trust, its director of performance and reform has confirmed.

Speaking at a meeting of Mid Ulster District Council on Thursday, December 16, Aldrina Malwood also confirmed the proposed Dungannon Health Hub is second only to a similar proposed facility in Newry which will be completed when funding is made available.

The topic was raised by Councillor Barry Monteith who noted the Trust has confirmed both Oakridge and the Dungannon Health Hub are priorities but asked for clarification as to what priority means.

“Both the medical hub in Dungannon and the new build scheme for Oakridge are considered the priority social care capital scheme for the Trust and the priority primary care scheme for the Trust respectively,” he said.

Barry Monteith

“I think it might have been two years ago when we were told they were third or fourth on the list but when you say ‘priority’ does that mean ‘top priority’,?

“If money becomes available in the next financial year or those the projects that are going forward and when can you expect to have an answer with regards to the amount of money available next year?”

Ms Magwood said delivering a new build for Oakridge Social Education Centre is the “priority one scheme for the Southern Trust”.

“We have presented on Oakridge in particular in the past, what I can say is not only is it one of our priorities from a social care scheme, it is actually a priority one scheme for the Southern Trust,” she said.

“We have two schemes that are priority one, one is the Oakridge centre and alongside Craigavon Area Hospital’s acute redevelopment, it remains a priority one scheme.

“The Dungannon Health Hub is our next priority for our community care treatment centres.

“The current priority is Newry, it is not yet built but the next scheme that becomes our priority one scheme for community care treatment centres is the Dungannon scheme so I hope that clarifies what our position is.”

Turning her attention to the financing, Ms Magwood the answer lay with the Northern Ireland Executive and the Department of Health but confirmed she did expect resources to be constrained in the next financial year.

“In terms of when I would expect to see money, unfortunately from a Trust perspective that is not something I can answer,” she said.

“The capital environment within the Executive is constrained and likely to be more so constrained next year and that really is a question for the Department of Health.”