A new inpatient ward which will provide 288 additional rooms at the Ulster Hospital opened its doors yesterday.
The first patient to be transferred from the old hospital which was built in 1962 to the £261 million development was 74-year-old Brian Moore.
He said: “It’s exceptional accommodation, very futuristic and space age. I think it’s wonderful, and having en-suite facilities is my room is just another extra.
“The move was no problem, the staff looked after me very well, as they always do.”
Naomi Dunbar, Assistant Director of Capital Development with the South Eastern Trust who masterminded the building project, said: “The old hospital was well past its useful life.
“The new ward block is built to Department of Health guidelines for acute hospitals, and is built to stand the test of time. “
The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust facility provides 288 single ensuite bedrooms across 12 wards, along with other services including state of the art facilities to improve infection control.
It represents Phase B in the redevelopment of the Trust’s single acute hospital.
Seamus McGoran, Director of Hospital Services said: “Our staff can now provide high quality care, in high quality accommodation. This building is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.”
A number of inpatient beds will continue to operate in the Old Ward Block until the Phase B redevelopment completes with the Acute Services Block, anticipated by early 2020.
The construction of the Acute Services Block will create approximately 650 job opportunities in the construction industry and 10 apprentice opportunities.
Following the opening of the Acute Services Block to patients, the Old Ward Block will be demolished. This will clear a site for the final stage of the hospital redevelopment – Phase C – which will include a new cancer unit and children’s unit.