A NEW £9.2m accident and emergency department is to open at Antrim Area Hospital on Wednesday.
Up to 90,000 patients are expected to be treated each year at the facility.
The new department is over twice the size of the department it replaces and has a dedicated waiting area for children and extra nurses have been recruited to staff the A&E.
Health Minister Edwin Poots said it is good news for the local community.
He said: “The construction of this new emergency department and ward marks the beginning of a new era for Antrim Area Hospital.
“These modern facilities will ensure that patients have improved access to safe, sustainable services for the long term.”
The Minister hopes the new facility will help to lower waiting times for patients.
“I remain committed to avoiding long waits at all the Emergency Departments in Northern Ireland and I believe that this new facility will ensure that patients who need the service get access as quickly as possible.
“This new facility will provide for all staff to deliver a better service to the public in the future,” he added.
Mary Hinds, Senior Director for the Northern HSC Trust, said: “The opening of the new Department will supplement the changes taking place within the Trust as part of the Turnaround Report.
“A whole system approach is being taken to ensure patients receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time and we will continue to work in partnership with GPs to ensure that patients who need emergency treatment get access to this as quickly as possible.”