Tim Attwood expresses concerns about Kings Hall 'health hub'
SDLP councillor Tim Attwood, has expressed concern about the needs of patients "in areas of greatest need" after Belfast City Council Planning Committee agreed to approve plans for a private health care facility at the Kings Hall site in south Belfast.
Mr Attwood said a number of GPs and health trade unions have concerns that moving facilities to the Upper Lisburn Road site may be detrimental to patient access for some GP practices.
One of the busiest GP surgeries in Belfast has already insisted it has "no plans" to move to a proposed £100 million health hub.
Elmwood Medical Practice moved to distance itself from the King's Hall project after a private development company, Benmore Octopus, confirmed they had approached Elmwood doctors about a relocation to the 16-acre site.
A spokeswoman for the practice, which has more than 9,000 patients and is based in Dunluce health centre, confirmed that while they attended presentations held by Benmore "some years ago", they had firmly decided against a move.
Mr Attwood said there is a concern that the withdrawal of GP services from Sandy Row, Finaghy, Seymour Hill or the lower Lisburn Road areas would be detrimental to access for patients living in greatest need.
Last night the city council planning committee approved the plans for the hub which developers claim will boost the Northern Ireland economy by £47 million a year.