Category Archives: Latest News

Advance Care Planning Week, April 3 – 7 2023

The Northern Health and Social Care Trust, alongside Compassionate Communities North West and other partners, are encouraging people to talk about the importance of planning ahead as part of Advance Care Planning Week.

Also known as Advance Care Planning, the theme this year, ‘Think and Plan Ahead’, reminds us that plans about future care needs and putting your affairs in order are best made when there is time to think about what is important to you.

During the week, the Northern Health and Social Care Trust is providing an Advance Care Planning information session for Mid Ulster Council staff and it hopes to run public information sessions in the future.

There are a number of information sessions taking place in the northwest, including a Literary Event and Workshop in Derry Central Library on Tuesday 4th April. More information is available on the Compassionate Communities NI website .

Fiona Gilmour, Macmillan Service Improvement Lead for the Northern Trust, explained: “None of us want to think about getting ill or dying yet none of us want to make things difficult for our loved ones either. It’s important, for their sake, not to delay making significant arrangements, like future care, wills and funeral plans. This year we want people to start the conversation with those closest to them about their wishes”.

The new Advance Care Planning Policy for Northern Ireland (NI) – ‘For Now and For the Future’ was launched by the Department of Health in October 2022. It highlights the need for us to look forward to a time when we may, because of a health change or crisis, become unable to communicate our wishes. At such times it is important that those closest to us and those looking after our care know what we would want.

The NI Advance Care Planning Policy contains four key components – Personal, Legal, Clinical and Financial. Everyone over 18, with mental capacity to make decisions should consider these. Visit the Department of Health website for more information, eLearning and videos. Information is available in various languages and formats including sign language and easy read guides.

The Northern Trust would encourage everyone to think ahead to the time when you or a family member may be ill and you need to know what they would want you to do. It’s so much easier to cope with the decisions that need to be made when you have had a conversation with them and know their wishes.

For further information please contact the Northern Trust Palliative Care Service Improvement Team NHSCT by emailing, or Compassionate Communities North West at

Trust Board approves recommendation that all hospital births should take place at Antrim Hospital

At a public meeting held today in Portrush, the Board of the Northern Health and Social Care Trust approved a recommendation that all hospital births should take place at Antrim Hospital.

The recommendation was made following a 14-week public consultation on a future model for acute maternity services, which commenced in late November last year.

Clinicians have advised the Trust that the current provision of maternity services at Causeway Hospital is unsustainable because of falling birth rates, workforce challenges and the absence of neonatal special care baby unit facilities at the hospital. The workforce challenges reflect the wider problem of attracting specialist clinicians to smaller hospital sites

The consultation presented the Trust’s two ‘clinically deliverable’ options. Both options proposed the transfer of all obstetric consultant-led births from Causeway Hospital to Antrim, with retention and enhancement of early pregnancy assessment units, antenatal and postnatal clinics and scheduled ambulatory services on Causeway site.

One of the options suggested the possibility of establishing a freestanding midwifery-led unit at Causeway Hospital. This option cannot proceed at the current time ahead of the completion of a Department of Health led review that includes service provision at such units. Given the extreme fragility of maternity services in the Northern Trust, the midwifery-led unit option has therefore been discounted at the present time and will be kept under review pending the outcome of this DoH led review. It has therefore been concluded that the only viable option at this point is the transfer of all births to Antrim Hospital.

Speaking after the Trust Board Meeting, Dr Dave Watkins, Medical Director at the Northern Trust said:

“We have always been clear about the reasons why change is required. Serious concerns continue to be raised by clinicians in relation to the safety and sustainability of the Trust’s current model of maternity services and we cannot ignore those.

“Our ultimate aim is to have a new-build Women and Children’s Unit on the Antrim Hospital site. This will provide high-quality, purpose-built accommodation for maternity and paediatric services. However, it is subject to business case approval and funding availability and is unlikely to be commissioned for service before 2027/28 at the earliest.

 “So we urgently need an interim solution that will address the challenges.

 “The public consultation allowed us to explain the need for change and to present for consideration what we believe were the only two clinically deliverable options. Hopefully we have achieved that but we also acknowledge that change is never easy and we understand the very real concerns that many people have and which have been well reflected throughout the consultation period. 

“In recommending the transfer of all hospital births to Antrim, that does not prevent us revisiting the possibility of setting up a midwifery-led unit in the Trust at some point in the future, should the outcome of the Department’s review offer that flexibility.”

The Trust recommendation will now be assessed by the Department of Health in line with its policy and guidance on change or withdrawal of service.

Be Proud, Be part of it

Apply for exciting opportunities in Antrim Area Hospital

Welcome to the recruitment page for jobs in Antrim Area Hospital

Apply for exciting opportunities in new innovative wards

Thank you for your interest in applying for a job in TeamNORTH.

This is a wonderful opportunity to be employed by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.

We have a variety of jobs in all areas – all available now.

  • Medical
  • Nursing
  • Pharmacy
  • Allied Health Professions
  • Support Services
  • Administration

We are creating exciting new opportunities as we develop Stroke and Frailty services and Acute Medical Wards.

All the roles are permanent, full and part-time with many opportunities to develop your skills and career development.

We offer flexible working opportunities plus a wide range of benefits and rewards.

Are you ready for a new challenge and to join more than just a team?

Get ready to say YES to Team North, visit today.

Specific Job Listings

Staff Nurse (Band 5)
Administration Officer (Band 3)
Specialty Doctor Respiratory Medicine
Maintenance Fitter Permanent (Band 4)
Home Care Worker Waiting List (Band 3)
Personal Assistant, Part time (Band 4)
Consultant Radiologist (General post with a special interest in Respiratory Radiology)
Consultant Radiologist (Paediatric and Neuro-Radiology)
Consultant Radiologist (General with a special interest in Head and Neck Radiology)
Consultant Radiologist (General)
Consultant Radiologist (Nuclear Medicine)
Consultant Gastroenterologist (2 posts)
Temporary Consultant Paediatrician Community / Acute
Pharmacy Stores Assistant (Band 2)
Midwives (Band 5/6)
Community Staff Nurse /Treatment Rooms (Band 5)
Cancer Services Staff Nurse (Band 5)

Further information

If you have any queries regarding any of the jobs, please contact Carol Catherwood – Email:

Team North - more than just a workplace





Statement regarding the Whiteabbey Nightingale Enhanced Therapies and Rehabilitation Unit

“The Whiteabbey Nightingale Enhanced Therapies and Rehabilitation Unit on the Whiteabbey Hospital site was first commissioned in Nov 2020 as a regional post-COVID stepdown service.

“The 23-bed unit has since transitioned to become a regional fractures / general rehabilitation facility and has been operating successfully as such, with evidence of strong outcomes and an average length of stay consistently below 14 days.

“Funding was allocated by the Department of Health (DoH) to retain the provision until the end of the current financial year. However, reflecting wider budgetary pressures, no recurrent funding source has been identified beyond the end of March 2023. As a result the unit now requires to be wound down on a phased basis, with final closure at the end of March 2023.”

“The NHSCT was honoured to host this regional service which was commissioned and funded by the DoH and we are proud of the outcomes achieved for the patients who availed of this service.

“Staff and their representatives will be met with under the Trust’ Management of Change process to consider alternative employment either on the Whiteabbey Hospital site or elsewhere within the Trust.

“Community beds are a vital part of our patient journey in that they afford the opportunity for patients to avail of a period of assessment or rehabilitation in bed-based facilities to maximise their personal abilities, often following a period of acute hospitalisation.

“Over the past few months we have been working up a long-term community bed model and we plan to go out to formal public consultation on this model early in the next financial year. We are committed to maintaining inpatient rehabilitation on the Whiteabbey site, and this will form part of the overarching community bed model.”


Joint Statement from the Chief Executives of Northern Ireland’s Health Trusts

Actions to reduce the risk to patients waiting in unacceptable circumstances in ambulances and Emergency Departments

As members of this community as well as health and social care service leaders, we are deeply distressed at the ongoing situation in our hospitals.

Although strenuous efforts are being made to alleviate the pressures, we have a serious capacity deficit which means too many people are waiting too long for care. Much of the impact of this is falling on frail and ill older people and on the staff caring for them.

Pressures on services are expected to intensify further after Christmas and into the early months of 2023.

The case for long-term investment and reform to effectively build capacity has been well made. Right now, however, we have to use whatever levers are available to us to reduce delays and prioritise patient safety.

HSC Trusts have been working intensively with Departmental colleagues on our ongoing response. It has been agreed that the following initiatives will be introduced across the system:

* Patients will leave hospital no later than 48 hours after confirmation they are medically fit for discharge and where a suitable  placement which can meet their needs is available. There will be no cost to the patient or their family for this alternative interim placement  and it will not impact on their place on any waiting list for their longer term option. Trusts and Care Homes will work closely together to make best use of any and all available capacity. This will include new shared arrangements for pre-admission assessment for care homes seven days a week.

* A maximum limit of three hours for ambulance handover will apply at all EDs. There is agreement in principle to further reduce this limit over the coming months, subject to review. In the interim, for ambulances waiting up to three hours for handover, it is agreed to maintain the focus on immediate release of ambulance crews to respond to immediately life threatening Category 1 calls.

* Maximum use will be made of available space in wards and throughout hospitals, to improve patient flow out of overcrowded Emergency Departments. This will also include, where appropriate, use of chairs rather than beds for patients medically fit to leave hospitals.

These are not steps that we ever wanted or indeed imagined having to introduce. They are not designed as a long-term solution, but as actions to reduce the risk to patients waiting in unacceptable circumstances in ambulances and EDs.

What we absolutely require is a long-term funding settlement and a health and care system which properly reflects demographic trends and is capable of meeting rising levels of demand.

In the meantime, we cannot passively accept the status quo, with all that it means for patient care and safety.




Starting a conversation about loneliness

The Northern Health and Social Care Trust recently launched its ‘Starting a Conversation about Loneliness’ resource. This useful resource comprises of Prompt Cards and a Guide and aims to support Trust staff help identify loneliness with service users and carers and enable them to discuss ways to address it.

Even before Covid-19, where feelings of loneliness more than doubled, loneliness was fast becoming recognised as a growing public health concern.

People of all ages can experience loneliness and most of us will have felt lonely at some time in our lives.  Statistics within a 2020 report by the Campaign to End Loneliness and the Action Group on Loneliness Policy in Northern Ireland indicate that 1 in 3 people in Northern Ireland are ‘more often lonely’ while 1 in 20 people are chronically lonely.

Chronic or persistent loneliness can be as damaging to our physical and mental health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, obesity, heart disease and other health conditions including an increased risk of anxiety and depression. The effects of loneliness can also impact the numbers of people contacting their GP, which can in turn place pressure on public services.

Dr Petra Corr, Director of Mental Health, Learning Disability and Community Wellbeing, Northern Trust said, “I am delighted to launch this new loneliness resource. Within the Northern Trust we are committed to finding ways to support all those who may be feeling lonely or who are at risk of loneliness.  This new resource will be a valuable tool to help staff talk about loneliness with service users and carers and help them find ways to address it”.

Yvonne Carson Lead for Loneliness Northern Trust commented “Feeling lonely is a normal human emotion and whilst loneliness is not a pleasant experience this resource will help break the stigma of loneliness by giving staff the the confidence to talk about it more openly and discuss ways to improve social connections”.

Janine Gordon, Mental Capacity Act Governance Lead added, “We know the links between loneliness and poor mental and physical health are well established and without support mechanisms to cope, loneliness can become problematic. We involved staff from the onset and we have received a lot of support and positive feedback from staff who very much welcome this exciting new loneliness resource”.

Twenty Northern Trust Loneliness Champions were also recognised at the event and they were presented with a Certificate of Recognition, Loneliness Champion badge and pack by Dr Petra Corr, Director of Mental Health, Learning Disability and Community Wellbeing.


COVID-19 Vaccination Programme

Appointments for those eligible are available to book online at

We would urge anyone who is eligible to please come forward at the earliest opportunity for their vaccines.

Eligibility criteria for COVID-19 Booster Programme:

  • Frontline Health & Social Care Workers
  • Pregnant Women
  • 5 -17 years of age in clinical at risk groups
  • 5 -17 years of age who are household contact of anyone who is immunosuppressed
  • 16 -17 years of age who are a carer
  • Non frontline HSC workers who are 50 plus or 18-49 in a clinical risk group


COVID-19 Vaccination in Northern Ireland

Book a COVID-19 Vaccination

If you have any issues with booking please contact

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine and the programme please visit NI Direct.

First, Second and Booster Dose Covid-19 Vaccine

Upcoming Vaccination Clinics are available as below. You can book online or walk ins are also available. 

  • Friday 31 March, 10am – 3pm (Sun Lounge, Mid Ulster Hospital
  • Friday 7 April,  10am- 3pm (Loughview Restaurant  Antrim Area Hospital)
  • Friday 14 April, 10am- 3pm (Girona Restaurant Causeway Hospital)
  • Friday 21 April, 10am- 3pm  (Sun Lounge Mid Ulster Hospital)
  • Friday 28 April, 10am -3pm (Loughview Restaurant  Antrim Area Hospital)

Industrial Action 2023

The Trust will continue to work with Trade Unions to try to minimise the impact of Industrial Action on patients and service users.

Information to advise of any potential disruption will be provided here and updated regularly. We will also post relevant Information on Trust social media channels.  Please note that if you have a pre-booked appointment you should attend unless we contact you to say that it has been cancelled.

Current Planned Industrial Action – March and April 2023

UNISON will take full strike action on Friday 31 March from 00:01 am – 11:59 pm.

Health unions UNISON, NIPSA and the RCM have advised that they will pause strike action due to take place on Monday 3 April 2023 as they have been asked to meet with the Secretary of State, Chris Heaton-Harris at the Northern Ireland Office next week.

The Northern Trust is anticipating that Industrial Action on 31 March will impact across a range of services:

  • Inpatient and daycase treatments: 14 patients (gynae, general surgery, gastro and urology)
  • Outpatient appointments: 12 patients (midwifery, anaesthetics and gynae)
  • Mental health services: 2 patients (memory service, health and wellbeing service)
  • GP treatment rooms: 158 service users
  • District nursing: 40 hours deferred
  • Hospital Diversion Nursing Team: 15 hours deferred
  • Recovery service: up to 120 assessments / reviews
  • Acute OT: up to 60 assessments / reviews
  • Day centres: 1 closed (41 attendances)
  • Children’s services: 2 child protection case conferences rearranged impacting 2 children.
  • Public health nursing: 3 service users

The message to patients and service users remains that they should attend any planned appointments unless contacted by the Trust to advise otherwise.


Maternity Visiting

Northern Trust confirms that it is seeking approval to proceed to public consultation on Maternity Services

The Northern Health and Social Care Trust has today confirmed that it plans to seek approval from the Trust Board at its meeting on Thursday 24 November 2022 to go to out to public consultation on options for the future provision of acute maternity services.

Commenting a Trust spokesperson said:

“The current configuration of maternity services in the Northern Trust is a fragile and vulnerable service model that is unsustainable. Available consultant obstetrics and midwifery resources are spread too thinly across the Antrim and Causeway sites and we are seeing a year-on-year decrease in birth numbers in the Causeway Coast and Glens area.

“We urgently need to provide a model for maternity services that addresses current challenges, including issues to do with staffing and recruitment and neonatal care.

“There are clinically deliverable options for providing a more sustainable and safe model and we have always stressed that we would try to make no permanent changes without full public consultation. That remains our preference and we plan to seek approval from Trust Board to immediately commence a 14-week public consultation process.

“Our aim will be to ensure that people fully understand the need for change, the various options and their implications and that they have a real and meaningful chance to fully explore those options and have their say.”  


Janet Potts NHSCT Macmillan Volunteer wins ‘Volunteer of the Year 2022’

Janet Potts, Macmillan Volunteer Beauty Therapist and Look Good Feel Better Volunteer in the Macmillan Unit, Antrim Area Hospital has been announced as winner of the Volunteer of the Year: Northern Ireland Award at the Helpforce Champions Awards 2022.

The awards are an opportunity to recognise the invaluable contribution that volunteers give towards helping NHS staff, patients, families and other organisations.

Janet was shortlisted and crowned winner for her commitment during challenging times and outstanding contribution to volunteering in the health and care sector through her volunteering services as a Beauty Therapist to patients and families receiving palliative care in the Macmillan Unit, Antrim Area Hospital.  In addition to this Janet also volunteers with the Look Good Feel Better charity who work in partnership with the Northern Trust.  She organises virtual beauty therapy sessions via zoom to patients who are receiving treatment after a cancer diagnosis.  This was particularly important during the covid 19 pandemic providing that much needed connection and support to patients.

Nicola McAleese, Macmillan Volunteer Coordinator said: “Janet has been volunteering for over 21 years and is passionate about her volunteering roles.  She brings so much joy and happiness to the lives of so many when their mood is low and they are at their most vulnerable.  Volunteering is a huge part of Janet’s life and she is the embodiment of what a volunteer can bring to an organisation like Macmillan Cancer Support, LGFB and the Northern Trust”.

Janet expressed her delight: “It was a wonderful day celebrating at the awards ceremony in London, which was made even better by winning the Volunteer of the Year (NI) Award. I am delighted to accept this award for all the volunteers at Macmillan in Northern Ireland who give up their time freely and willingly to help others. It is a pleasure to work with patients and is very humbling to help others feel great about themselves when they are going through a really tough time.”

Mark Lever, Chief Executive of Helpforce, said: “This year, the Helpforce Champions Awards have received a record number of entries with so many brilliant examples of innovation, great practice, commitment, and real passion for patient care and support for staff across the health and care sector in the UK.

The Northern Trust would like to congratulate Janet on achieving this significant award!