Rothbury community hospital and residential care a step closer – Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

The pioneering strategic health and social care partnership between Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Rothbury Cottage Care Ltd, which is part of People First Care, will see a package of community care being available for the residents of Rothbury and surrounding villages.

Work, which will take up for four months to complete and is being delivered and managed by Rothbury Cottage Care Ltd, will involve transforming the inpatient ward at the hospital into a homely residential care home with the provision of flexible NHS beds.

It is hoped that the community health and social care facility will be opened by November.

The flexible NHS bed provision will be available for patients who need longer-term recuperation and rehabilitation and end-of-life care. The facility will receive clinical support from a team of district nurses, GPs and nurse practitioners and will be provided alongside healthcare currently provided in the community and in peoples’ homes.

Paul Paes, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s community business unit director and a palliative care consultant, said: “We are delighted that work has finally begun at Rothbury Community Hospital. Stark lessons from the last two years include that healthcare provision needs to be flexible if it is to be sustainable and that the focus should not be on beds, but on what is going to enable patients to get better and recover as quickly as possible and the best use of our staff and resources. It is clearly evidenced that medically fit people should not be in hospital beds.

“It is fantastic that we are able to be part of a partnership which offers holistic care for people. We are also mindful that this is a new model of care so a detailed review of the NHS provision will be done at three and six-month intervals. They will include the number of admissions to health beds, reason for admission, length of stay, if patients are unable to access the health beds, including their reason for needing admission, and feedback from staff and patients. We can then make any changes that we need to.

“We are committed to making this partnership work for the residents of Rothbury and surrounding areas as we appreciate that people have had to wait for a very long time for a solution. I would like to thank residents and all stakeholders for their patience, feedback and support.”

This is the first time that Rothbury has had a residential care home within the village. Rothbury Cottage Care Ltd want to make the environment as homely as possible. The 12 rooms will all be en-suite and residents and NHS patients will enjoy home-cooked food which will be prepared on the site and have access to a day room. There will also be a laundry on site.

Nigel Dawson, director of Rothbury Cottage Care Ltd, said: “Our ethos is to make people feel at home, safe and well cared for. We are very pleased to be able to work in partnership with Northumbria Healthcare and help provide a solution which will significantly improve access to residential care in the local area and also support the trust in being able to offer community hospital care in the local area. The clear admission criteria we have for both services should give confidence in the care that will be provided whether someone is in an NHS or residential care bed.

“The same contractor that originally built Rothbury Community Hospital is undertaking the building work so they have extensive knowledge of the building and we have every confidence in their ability to ensure the facility is of excellent quality.

“Other positives include being another local employer in Rothbury and supporting the local economy. We are hoping that most of our staff will be recruited from the local community and full training will be provided. There will also be a day centre and we are looking to provide home care too, subject to demand and recruitment. We will start advertising various posts from July and we really look forward to building our team and to opening our doors!”

Cllr Steven Bridgett, county councillor for the Rothbury division, said: “The start of this work is very welcome as the residents of Rothbury have waited for a solution for a long time and closing the beds did cause lots of upset and worry.

“I thank the trust for listening and coming up with a solution that will not only bring back community hospital care in Rothbury but also provide much-needed residential care. I very much look forward to when the work is complete and the people of this area can benefit from the care provided.”

Katie Scott, co-ordinator of the ‘Save Rothbury Community Hospital Campaign’ team, said: “We hoped for residential care, we pleaded for respite care, and we begged for NHS care. I am delighted that, at last, we have got it all! We very much welcome the new model of care to be provided by Northumbria Healthcare and Rothbury Cottage Care Ltd.

“Today is testament to what a community effort, tenacity of a campaign group, and refusing to give up can achieve. I would like to thank Sir James Mackey, CEO of Northumbria Healthcare, and the others from the trust who have been involved and who have listened to us and taken on board what we have said. I must also pay tribute to David Brown, and particularly Maurice Cole, for their invaluable contributions to the campaign. They were two ‘Save Rothbury Community Hospital’ campaigners, who have sadly died without seeing, or benefiting from, the fruits of their efforts.”

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