South Belfast psychiatric services ‘stay open’

A proposal to close a psychiatric inpatient unit in south Belfast has been rejected by the health trust. It was suggested the Windsor House unit would close before a new facility was built. However, the trust said it will stay open until the new unit is ready.

The trust also decided to keep three residential homes open, but they will not admit any new patients unless they have dementia.

The residential homes are Grovetree House, Chestnut Grove, and Pine Lodge.

The trust’s plan will be sent for final approval to Health Minister Michael McGimpsey, who said he would quickly come to a decision.

“I am encouraged by the trust’s decision to change a number of its recommendations in light of the responses to its consultation,” he said.

“This clearly shows that the consultation process works and the voices of the public are being listened to.

“I can assure people that if services are changing, that change will be for the better. No changes will take place until alternative facilities or alternative services are ready for use.”

If permission is given, the trust will begin discussions with the new Health and Social Care Board for Northern Ireland and the Department of Health to secure funding for the new unit and for more home and community-based treatment.