Health and Care Centres
An overview of the Primary Care Infrastructure Development Programme
Proposals are currently being developed for a significant programme of works across Northern Ireland which envisages the redevelopment of new health and care centres across the region, alongside investment in local GP surgeries. This investment in infrastructure is a key enabler for the delivery of the commitments set out in Transforming Your Care, providing more services to patients closer to their homes, and providing these services in a more integrated manner. This investment will also address the shortcomings of existing infrastructure and create the additional capacity required to provide a quality service to a rapidly growing and aging population.
The proposed service model for the Primary Care Infrastructure Development Programme is based on a “Hub and Spoke” approach, with hubs providing core services for its range of spokes. The hubs will essentially encompass those services which do not require a hospital bed but which are too complex or specialised to be provided in a local GP surgery (a spoke). The spokes will be local GP surgeries and health centres which include practitioners such as GPs, practice nurses and Trust services where there is localised demand.
The hubs will include capacity to deliver GP and Trust led primary care services, alongside those services which will “shift-left” from secondary care under Transforming Your Care i.e. the hubs will offer a number services locally that currently require a hospital visit, for example:
- outpatient assessments for long term condition clinics
- minor surgery
- diagnostics such as x-ray and ultrasound.
The service model will enable all GPs throughout each area to access the wider range of services within the hub, reducing the need for patients to travel outside of their locality to access key services and enable our multi-disciplinary teams to work more closely together ensuring the delivery of a high quality service that provides safe and effective outcomes for our patients.
Current status of the overall Programme
The proposals described above are set out in the Strategic Implementation Plan for the Programme. This plan was prepared on the direction of the Minister of Health, with a view to enabling the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety to “deliver state of the art health and social care facilities”.
The Strategic Implementation Plan sets out proposals for the development of primary care infrastructure, how this may be funded, timescales for implementation and next steps. The recommendations contained within the Plan were developed in close consultation with Local Commissioning Groups, GP representatives, Trusts, community and voluntary representatives and other key stakeholders to ensure that the local infrastructure requirements and the priorities for investment were clearly identified.
The Strategic Implementation Plan is currently with the Health Minister for his consideration.
Project progress to date
The first phase of new health and care centres is currently underway with construction teams on site in Ballymena, Banbridge and Omagh, and procurement ongoing for new health and care centres in Lisburn and Newry.
For more information about these projects clink on the links below: