HEALTH Minister Robin Swann visited Bangor Community Hospital on Monday. The visit was hosted by North Down MLA Alan Chambers. Following the visit, in which the minister took time to meet with many of the staff and see first-hand the range of services on offer within the hospital, Mr Chambers said: “Bangor Community Hospital is a fantastic facility at the heart of the community here and so I was delighted to be given the opportunity to show it off to the Minister. “The hospital is steeped in history, stemming back to its opening 112 years ago. Since then it’s very ably treated many, many thousands of people, been an important employer and been an overall mainstay in the Bangor and wider North Down community.” Mr Chambers outlined how the hospital offers a wide range of health, social and primary care services, including a very busy outpatients department, dental services, a therapy and rehabilitation centre, as well as acting as base for a wide range of community services serving the local population. He continued: “During the visit with the Minister what struck me most was the passion and obvious commitment from the staff. Having come through such a difficult period in the pandemic it’s clear that the staff in Bangor Community Hospital are totally dedicated to delivering care and supporting patients. “We also took the opportunity to discuss the Minor Injuries Unit within the hospital and I was pleased to hear that the Trust are continuing in their efforts to recruit additional staff. “In the meantime however, having seen how busy and productive the site was on a Monday afternoon, it’s clear the hospital continues to provide a really invaluable service and it was great to be able to let the Minister see for himself.” The Health Minister said: “I had a brilliant visit to Bangor Community Hospital. One of the greatest privileges of holding the Health Ministry is being given the opportunity to get out and about and meet with so many of our health workers. “Over the last couple of years Alan Chambers regularly told me of the efforts of health workers right across North Down and so this visit was a great opportunity to meet with some more of them to thank them for all they did, not least during the incredibly difficult period of the pandemic. I know Bangor Community Hospital is especially important to the town and so that’s why I was very happy to accept Alan’s kind invitation to come out to see first-hand what it has on offer. “In my two and half years in office I’ve regularly spoken to colleagues from right across the political spectrum, our health workers and members of the public of the importance of reforming and improving the local health service. “Good progress has already been made in many areas, and that can be seen with some waiting lists starting to come down after being allowed to grow exponentially over the last decade. But it’s clear there is an awful lot of work to still be done, in which the hospital in Bangor has an significant role to play. “Bangor Community Hospital is a hugely important part of the Health Service in the wider North Down Area, I’m quite sure it will capably continue to help meet the needs of the local population for many years to come.”