A £3.2m proposal for the refurbishment of a North Antrim community hospital was given approval by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust at a meeting of the board on Thursday morning.
The Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ballymoney is to be given an upgrade funded by the hospital’s charitable trust which is said to be “fully supportive of the scheme”.
A Trust board director told the meeting: “We are keen to move forward. We do believe this will improve patient experience.”
The project had been approved by the Trust board in May 2021 at a cost of £2.2m. Initially, work was expected to have been completed by October 2022.
The board heard there have been “a number of pressures”, including Covid and the “ability to secure a decant option” with the Robinson trustees “taking the decision to pause”.
It has been used as a “consistent Covid step down hospital” for the Northern Trust area during the pandemic.
The hospital, located adjacent to Ballymoney Health Centre, at Newal Road, was established 90 years ago. It is a community rehabilitation facility which has 16 beds. Patients are admitted to the unit as ‘step down’ from acute hospitals
Facilities at the Robinson are open to all residents of the Northern Trust area irrespective of their home address.
The renovation will provide six single rooms with en suite, one two-bed ward with en suite and two four-bed wards with en suite facilities. Some existing facilities have been described as “outdated”. There are two single rooms with en-suite facilities.
Previously, Owen Harkin, executive director of finance, told the Trust board the Robinson Hospital’s charitable trust has built up a “significant fund” over the years which would “fully-fund” the project.