THE north’s largest private healthcare provider Kingsbridge is opening a new outpatients centre in Ballykelly as part of a wider £6 million investment which is creating 80 jobs in the north west.
It will be named after Liz Dallas, who was previously matron, hospital director and the longest-serving employee at the clinic, which was acquired by Kingsbridge 16 months ago.
Facilities at Kingsbridge's north west hospital include 38 overnight beds, eight day-case beds, an endoscopic suite and three theatres (two of which are laminar flow with a state-of-the-art recovery unit). It also has emergency bloods on site and 90 car parking spaces.
Opening the centre is part of a wider plan by Kingsbridge to expand operations both in Belfast and Ballykelly (it also has a hospital in Sligo and an outpatients clinic in Letterkenny) and increase bed and theatre capacity, as well as adding services to include the north’s first private intensive care unit and private cardiac surgery facility.
Anthony McKenna, general manager at Kingbridge's north west private hospital, said: “When we first took over here last year, we made a commitment not just to build on current services, but to deliver a wide range of specialisms which will enhance the choices available to everyone in the north west region and across the island.
“With this significant investment, patients will now benefit from eight medical consultation rooms and a nurse treatment room on the ground floor, a newly installed laundry service which will be used across the whole hospital group, and on the first floor, we have created additional office space for our expanding administration support teams.”
Mark Regan, chief executive of Kingsbridge Healthcare Group, said there were huge benefits to the investment across the whole hospital.
“The new outpatients centre in Ballykelly will be underpinned by a comprehensive refurbishment programme, which has already commenced for the wider hospital and will result in a complete remodelling of all ward bedrooms, and consultation rooms in the main hospital along with the provision of additional paediatric services for the group.
“To complement these services, we have installed a multi-million pound MRI scanner, the only private scanning facility of its kind in Northern Ireland, which can scan patients while under anaesthetic.
“This is of particular use for young children or patients with disabilities, who are unable to stay completely still for the scans, which can last between 15 and 60 minutes.
“The scanner will also be of interest to those patients who are anxious, or experience claustrophobia, given its faster scan times, its extra wide tunnel and a 70 per cent reduction in noise.
“The scanner will offer the latest in high quality imaging and diagnostics as well as providing a better experience for patients and faster turnaround times for our clinicians,” he added.
Dr Regan has invited Mrs Dallas to unveil a plaque and officially open the centre named in her honour.
He added: “Liz was so well respected and highly regarded when she worked at the hospital here for nearly three decades, so it was very fitting to call the new outpatients centre after her. The staff and management were delighted to welcome her back and give her a VIP tour of the new amenities.”