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Assembly Written Question 17931/17-22

To ask the Minister of Health to detail the total amount spent on adapting Whiteabbey Hospital as a Covid Recovery facility; and how this investment will benefit the hospital site in the long term.

Answer: £4,170,089 has been spent to date on the Whiteabbey Nightingale facilities. This has enabled the completion of works to provide a regional COVID-19 enhanced rehabilitation facility, to ease pressures on acute and ICU beds across the region. From late November 2020 to the end of March 2021, 145 patients were treated at the facility, with 1,654 acute bed days saved.

As the pressure from the current wave of COVID-19 eases, the Whiteabbey facility has now turned its focus to providing a regional rehabilitation service for non-COVID-19 patients, to help with efforts to rebuild.

At the same time, my Department and the Northern Health and Social Care Trust are exploring potential longer-term uses for the Whiteabbey Nightingale facility. While this work is at an early stage, the legacy usage will build upon the existing enhanced rehabilitation model, including the recruited staff, the facilities and the equipment available on site.

It is important to note, however, that we remain aware that COVID-19 is unpredictable and will likely remain with us, to a greater or lesser degree, for some time. That is why a key principle of the legacy work will be to ensure that the Nightingale facility retains the ability to refocus quickly again on COVID-19, should the need arise.

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