Ritichie Says Ward 15 Is A Centre Of Excellence

“Ward 15 is leading the way in the treatment of addictions with the unique relationship between the staff, patients and ex-patients creating this unique treatment and support model that has given so many people and their families a second chance. [caption id="attachment_19174" align="alignleft" width="400" caption="At Shimna House Ward 15 addicytions unit in Downpatrick were (left to right), Michael Gracey, South Eastern Trust Addictions Team Manager, Hugh McCaughey, Trust Chief Executive, Don Bradley Trust Addictions' Unit Asst. Director, South Down MP Margaret Ritchie, with members of Friends of Ward 15, Terry Heaney, Jim Mageean, Chris Boyd and Desi Bannon, Trust Director of Adult Services."][/caption] “As MP for the area I will be working closely with the staff of Ward 15, the ex-patients group The Friend of Ward 15, and the Trust to ensure that Ward 15 goes from strength to strength and becomes a Regional Centre for Addictions in Northern Ireland. “Ward 15 serves the Down and Newry and Mourne area and parts of the Belfast and Antrim catchment areas,  and on a geographical basis Ward 15 is already well placed as a Northern Ireland wide centre of excellence. It  is already functioning and acting as a centre of excellence and the preferred model of addictions treatment in Northern Ireland. I will be meeting with the Minister for Health in the near future to put forward a strong case for Ward 15 to become a designated Regional Centre of Excellence. “I would also like to thank the Friends of Ward 15 for hosting my visit and for their great efforts in supporting the everyday work of Ward 15, and their vision for the future of the service.” she added. Delighted with the support that Margaret Ritchie has shown towards promoting Ward 15 as a centre of excellence,  Jim Mageean, Chairman of the Friends of Ward 15 said that Downpatrick had had an addictions unit from the 1960’s which moved into its present home at Shimna House in 1988. “back in 1974 we formed the Friends of ward 15 gropup to initially provide material comforts for the patients such as TV’s and washing machines. In those days things were more basic than what we have today. we have made considerable contributions such as building a tarmaced tennis court and a putting green that is maintained by a professional greenkeeper. [caption id="attachment_19175" align="alignright" width="400" caption="Outside Shimna House at the DFownshire Estate are (left to right, Terry Heaney, Friends of Ward 15 Treasurer, Hugh McCaughey, Chief Executive, South Eastern Trust, Michael Gracey, SET Addictions Team Assistant Manager, with Soiuth Down MP Margaret Ritchie."][/caption] “The Trust sees the addictions unit at Shimna House as the jewel in their crown. It is a great success story. It has helped so many people over the years. When someone is admitted to help them remove themselves physically from drugs or alcohol, they usually after a couple of weeks attend the open meetings we run in the Downshire Estate. There may be up to 80 ex-patients in attendance. This whole process is life-changing for many. We believe in giving back, showing our gratitude. It is this willingness to help others that is therapeutic. “Richard Starkey, Ward Manager, and his staff are very supportive and we work very closely with them. The Friends group facilitates this support meeting and another one on a Tuesday evening. These meetings are part of the therapy that is ongoing for the patients and we work in close partnership with the staff in Shimna House complementing their therapies. The Trust staff meet clients in Shimna House and out in the community. “Sometimes residential treatment is necessary as the patients need to be physically removed from alcohol and drugs. Intervention therapy lasts for up to four weeks. There has been a noticeable increase in the number of younger patients being admitted who are dependent on narcotics. We, the Friends of ward 15, are very committed to supporting the tremendous work that is ongoing in Shimna House. You can watch a special programme on UTV at 10.30pm on UTV LIVE on Wednesday 19th January about Shimna House and its work with patients.]]>