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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

New design for midwifery-led unit at Antrim Area will cost additional £2M

Antrim Area Hospital

The Northern Health and Social Care Trust board has approved an alternative design for a new “alongside” three-bed midwifery-led unit at Antrim Hospital.

A three-suite unit, to be located in a two-storey build at the front of the hospital adjacent to the courtyard between the maternity and endoscopy departments, has been proposed at a cost of £5.52m.

A report presented to the Trust board at a meeting last month noted this design would cost almost £2m more than the original preferred option due to an increase in floor area.

The proposal will now be presented to the Department of Health for funding consideration.

Members were told at the meeting of “concerns over the impact on the adjacent Trust services during construction” with regard to the initial design option as well as “potential re-prioritisation of the women and children’s unit within the ten-year capital plan” resulting in further consideration by the Trust of the initial option’s “suitability to deliver the service for the next ten to 15 years and potentially beyond”.

The development of a three-suite unit at Antrim was a commitment made to the Trust by the Permanent Secretary Peter May when he approved the recommendation of the Trust board to consolidate all hospital births at Antrim Area Hospital. The aim is the alongside midwifery-led unit (AMU) should be operational at the site by June 2025. Initially, it had been expected to cost approximately £3.7m.

 “The AMU will offer women the choice of midwife-led care alongside the obstetric and consultant-led services which are already in place at Antrim’s maternity unit,” members heard previously.

A reconfiguration of maternity services, which came into effect in July 2023, saw all hospital births within the Northern Trust area move to Antrim Hospital and an end to births at Causeway Hospital, Coleraine.


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