First Dedicated Neurology Centre for Northern Ireland
03/12/2014Health Minister Jim Wells has officially opened the first dedicated outpatients centre for Neurology in Northern Ireland – at Craigavon Area Hospital. An estimated 34,000 people in Northern Ireland suffer from a disabling Long Term Neurological Condition, such as Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, or one of the rarer disorders like Muscular Dystrophy or Motor Neurone Disease. Neurological symptoms such as headache are one of the most common reasons for seeing a General Practitioner and account for up to 8% of Emergency Department visits.
Health Minister Jim Wells said; “This new unit will be the first outpatient unit in Northern Ireland dedicated to the diagnosis, assessment and treatment of all neurological conditions. It will help identify those who require this more complex care and will offer support when patients are returned to local clinicians when their condition no longer requires specialised treatment.
“These centralised neurology and EEG services mean that the right care is there at the right time, making for a much better and simpler patient experience.”
Commenting on the new development, Chief Executive of the Southern Trust, Mairead McAlinden said: “An estimated 1,600 people in the Southern Trust area are diagnosed with neurological illness each year which is equivalent to the number diagnosed with a major cancer. We have a very experienced team of Neurology and Neurophysiology specialists diagnosing, treating and supporting this very large patient group for a number of years.
“Previously, neurology outpatient appointments and investigations had been provided from various locations throughout the Craigavon site. In response to patient feedback, staff highlighted the difficulties this presented for older patients and those with disabilities in finding the location of their appointment each time they visit the hospital.
“We are delighted with the development of this new purpose built accommodation for the diagnosis, assessment and treatment of all neurological conditions. I would like to pay tribute to the dedication of our Neurology team who had the foresight and creativity to make such a difference to the care they provide with a relatively modest investment.
“This new facility helps us towards achieving some of the latest standards in caring for people with long term neurological conditions. Since it opened, feedback has been very positive with improved access to a modernised facility making life much easier for patients, greatly improving their overall experience of our care.”