Belfast Health and Social Care Trust has set up a Coronavirus assessment centre in West Belfast.
Beech Hall Health and Wellbeing Centre on the Andersonstown Road has been designated as a Covid-19 assessment centre to ensure that there is sufficient capacity in the health system to deal with the anticipated increase in demand for those contracting the virus.
All other services provided at Beech Hall were temporarily stood down on Monday as the centre begins to focus on services for those with Covid-19 symptoms, including higher-risk patients.
It comes after Belfast Trust last week designated the Mater Hospital as its Covid-19 hospital.
“It will be for those who do not meet the criteria for Emergency Department assessment or inpatient admission,” said a Belfast Trust spokesperson.
Attendance at the centre will be by appointment only. Appointments will will be arranged via telephone or Skype triage, or by referral from another Health and Social care practitioner.
Belfast Trust said the move will allow GPs and Trust staff “to work together in a suitable clinical environment and plan what is best" for patients.
The centre will initially be open daily from 8am to 10pm.
It will be staffed by both Health and Social Care Trust staff and GP Surgery Staff. Some staff at Beech Hall will be redeployed to other facilities in the Trust or may help support the COVID-19 centre.
“This will be negotiated on an individual basis with each staff member and their management in partnership with trade union colleagues in line with our Organisational Management of Change Framework and Guidelines on the Emergency Redeployment/Relocation of Staff during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Belfast Trust added.
“We need to prioritise the health and safety of our population. But the Trust looks forward to reinstating all the services once provided at Beech Hall when this service is no longer needed. ”