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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Swann welcomes positive update on Cullybackey Health Centre

Cullybackey Health Centre

Ulster Unionist MLA Robin Swann has welcomed confirmation he received from the Department of Health (DoH) that a new contract has been offered that potentially secures the long-term future and services of Cullybackey Health Centre.

The local community health facility notified the Department of Health in May that it intended to hand back it's contract from the 30th November 2023, a move which came as a shock for the 7,000+ patients possibly impacted if the practice were to close.

Commenting today (Monday 21 August) after receiving the latest update from the DoH, North Antrim MLA said:

“Following the announcement in early May that the current management of Cullybackey Health Centre were handing back their contract, patients and staff have understandably been very concerned about what would happen the practice beyond the impending deadline of December this year.

“With only six months to find a viable outcome, the practice was either going to be taken over by a new contract holder or potentially face closure with it’s many patients dispersed across neighbouring GP practices. The latter is something that I have repeatedly warned would be the worst outcome as it would have seen the greatest disruption to patients, as well as placing already stretched nearby GP practices under even greater strain.

“Throughout the last year, and even before it whilst I held the post of Minister of Health, I have regularly been engaging with senior Department of Health officials about the pressures facing primary care services right across North Antrim. Whilst it’s not a problem unique to the constituency, due to a number of reasons our area has seen a much higher number of contracts being handed back.

“Whenever it was first announced just over three months ago that the Cullybackey practice was at some risk I immediately sought assurances from the Department of Health that it would move at pace to begin a process to secure alternative arrangements for Cullybackey. From the outset I've been thankful that it has been accepted that the best outcome for both the practice and the patients would be if a new GP contractor could come through a recruitment exercise and formally take it over.

“I was very pleased therefore to be informed by the Department that the contract has recently been offered to a potential contractor who is currently carrying out due diligence before signing the contract. Whilst the outcome is still by no means certain, the fact that there are potential contractors interested and who have passed the rigorous process to date, this is a hugely positive outcome and one which I sincerely hope ends with a positive conclusion for everyone involved.

“In the meantime, I would reassure patients that they don’t need to take any action and that they should still continue to contact the practice as normal.”


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