Green Light For Carrick Health Centre Replacement

A new health and care centre is to be built in Carrick following the approval of funding by the Health Minister. The £9 million complex, which will replace the ageing facilities on Taylor’s Avenue, forms part of an investment package announced last week by Michael McGimpsey.

Conditions at the former hospital have deteriorated in recent years and much of the complex is now lying empty, social work and administrative staff having been relocated to the former Hillcroft School in Newtownabbey and day centre clients transferred to Larne and Newtownabbey.

Mr McGimpsey indicated his support for a new complex during a visit to Carrick in 2007 and Northern Trust chief executive Norman Evans told councillors in February of this year that investment in the Borough was one of her top priorities.

Announcing the allocation of funds to the trust, the Minister said: “I have worked with all the health boards and trusts to identify key priorities for the next ten years. By continuing to invest in our services we are ensuring that we have a first class health and social care service which continues to put patients first.”

The health centre is just one component of a mooted ‘health village’ between Taylor’s Avenue and Prince William Way, with the leisure centre – currently undergoing renovation – sports pitches and ambulance station nearby and suggestions that a new fire station may also be built in the area.

In other parts of Northern Ireland, health, leisure and library facilities have shared a single site.

A total of £175 million will be made available to the trust over the next decade for new or improved facilities, £29 million of it in the first three years. First in line is a £20 million health centre in Ballymena.

A starting date for work on the Carrick health centre has yet to be determined; it is also as yet unclear whether the existing centre will remain in use during construction or will have to be demolished to make way for its replacement.

Elsewhere in the Northern Trust area, a new health centre is planned for Larne along with improved facilities at Whiteabbey, Antrim and Mid Ulster Hospitals and a new mental health in-patient facility.