Ballymena Health & Care Centre
Ballymena Health & Care Centre is the first Health & Care Centre for the Northern Trust area in Northern Ireland.
The site provides a one-stop centre for assessments, treatment and provision of care to the local population. Services in the facility include six GP practices and a local pharmacy as well as a mix of locally accessible acute, primary and community care clinics. These include:
- Community nurse specialist services such as diabetes and continence.
- Allied health professionals such as Physiotherapy services.
- Diagnostic services such as X-Ray.
- Community dental service.
- Reablement services (OT and wheelchair service).
The site also has a separate children’s wing for child associated assessments and clinics as well as a mental health department and provides work stations for approximately 280 staff.
The Health & Care Centre also provides a hub for community based teams such as community integrated teams, paediatric and mental health teams providing the opportunities for integrated working leading to improvised service delivery.
Work on the development of Ballymena Health & Care Centre was undertaken by contractors O’Hare & McGovern and Architects Keppie Design and GHA. The design of the development began almost 10 years ago and was completed in November 2016.
Neil Whatley, Associate at Keppie Design spoke to Premier Construction magazine about the project.
He said: “One of the biggest challenges was to develop the project on a live hospital site, so we had to identify an area where we could build the new Health & Care Centre, whilst providing the ongoing services in some form of decanted and/or in-situ manner. This led to a phased construction but we also had to be careful that the ongoing provision of service did not compromise the final building.
“Parking was also big concern as we wanted to address the street so when you arrived, you were not confronted by extensive car parking. We essentially tucked the car parking in behind the building to give the building an appropriate civic presence to Cushendall Road.”
Designed and built over two and half floors, the building also provides a hub for Antrim and Ballymena locality services and a central hub for some Trust-wide services. Acute, primary and community care clinics are located on the ground and first floor and the second floor provides an administration bay for staff. This allows primary care, mental health and other teams to be co-located. Intermediate care and community teams are able to work more closely together and the provision of more specialist services should mean a reduction in domiciliary visits.
The £14 million project is the largest Health & Care Centre to date in Northern Ireland and has gained recognition at several award ceremonies.
Neil said: “It’s nice that the project has been well received and it’s great that such a socially important project is gaining recognition. At several awards ceremonies, the judges have sought us out to really stress how enthusiastic and complimentary the staff they met were about the project and environment that they are now working in.”