Questions and Answers – May 2017


What is Halesworth Health (HH)?
A registered Charity whose seven trustees are from the Patrick Stead Hospital (PSH) League of Friends, Cutlers Hill Surgery, Halesworth Community Nursing Care Fund (HCNCF), and local residents including a retired lawyer and a parish councillor. All are unpaid volunteers.

What is HH for?
To try to safeguard and future-proof integrated health and social care services in and around Halesworth. It is widely recognised that the integrated team approach with services all on one site – the surgery, the Rayner Green Resource (day) Centre, the community staff and, until the beds were closed, the hospital, – provides very good care. Because Halesworth is on the margin of different boundaries i.e. parliamentary, local government and health, we have often had to find local solutions to address our needs.

What’s happening with the project now?
Halesworth Health continues to work jointly with Campus group. Since the Playing Fields Association land is no longer available for development, it is proposed that the new purpose built health and social care facility will now be on the former Middle School Site, alongside sport and educational facilities. The healthcare building will include flexible use nursing care beds, community beds funded by the NHS and facilities specifically designed for patients with dementia. There will be a community hub to include NHS outpatient clinics. A housing with extra care scheme (very sheltered housing) is also proposed. The CCG (Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group) is still supportive of the plans, despite the delays.

Why this new development?
Halesworth and District has a very geographically isolated, elderly population, with a journey of almost 30 miles to any of the three District General Hospitals. Well over a third of the population are over 65 years of age, above the national and local area average. This is predicted to increase markedly in the next 20 years. Many people are living with multiple chronic illnesses, often including dementia. We therefore need excellent local integrated health and care services.
This is clearly in line with and reflects regional and national strategic thinking, especially as described in the report by NHS England in October 2014, ‘The NHS 5 year Forward View’ and the more recent ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’. These discuss and recommend various new ways of providing integrated health and care more locally.
The Patrick Stead Hospital (PSH) is a Victorian building, which has done an excellent job. It is however expensive to run and maintain and difficult to adapt or extend. It has been very clear for several years that there is no plan for any development and no available money for transforming the Patrick Stead Hospital. To do nothing was not an option, as we would have been left with no local services.

Who will pay for all this and manage the new facility?
Halesworth Health, after a rigorous selection process, given there was to be no NHS investment in buildings, chose a preferred independent care provider with whom to work together. This provider, Castlemeadow Care, has drawn up impressive plans to build and run the new facility; they will buy the land and pay for the construction and running costs of the new building. It’s important to note that within the building will be NHS funded community beds and outpatient clinics. The NHS will fund the beds as they’ve done in Patrick Stead, but the care home beds would be paid for in the usual way. This will be the NHS working in partnership with the independent care sector.

Who are Castlemeadow Care?
A family run, Norfolk based, high quality, independent care provider with four care homes in Norfolk. They have experience of residential, nursing, dementia and NHS beds as well as sheltered housing. They are run by an ex GP, Dr Sanjay Kaushal.

What is happening to the hospital now?
The CCG, after their public consultation in 2015, decided to close the hospital, but only when the new care facility was up and running. Unfortunately East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH), the provider of services, was unable to maintain staffing levels, as the staff naturally became unsettled by the insecurity of impending closure, and delays and uncertainty in the project, so closed the beds and then finally withdrew their services contract on April 1st 2017. So there are now no beds available for community use. Downstairs is still used for people needing blood tests and we hope that soon all the consultant outreach clinics will be restored. This is under discussion between the CCG and the James Paget Hospital.
The garden room is still used by voluntary groups such as Parkinsons and Dementia Carers.

What about physiotherapy and podiatry?
Physiotherapy continues to be provided by ECCH in the building adjacent to the hospital, along with podiatry and some other community clinics.

What will happen to Patrick Stead Hospital in the future?
When the CCG eventually declares the hospital surplus to requirements, the owners of the building, NHS Property Services Ltd., will decide its future. Halesworth Health is keen to pursue with NHS organisations the reinvestment of funds from any sale, back into the local community.
The building itself could be bought for an alternative community use, via the ‘community right to bid scheme’, for around the market price, but it would still require funding for heavy running costs, so would need careful consideration.

What about the Rayner Green Resource Centre
This is an excellent day care facility for people who often have severe disability, and for many people with dementia. It enables multidisciplinary assessments, stimulating activities and also ensures carers can have important respite time. In the long run it enables people to remain living in their own home for longer, and prevents hospital admissions. It is jointly funded by health and by social care. The CCG want it to continue but are reviewing the way it is funded and used.

What about Minor Injuries?
A review of the contracts is taking place currently but it is intended that Cutlers Hill Surgery will continue to run the excellent minor injuries service from the surgery during working hours. This is really important to avoid people having to travel long distances to use A&E at James Paget Hospital – as they now have to in the evenings and weekends.

And how is the surgery coping without the Patrick Stead beds?
Without community beds and also without an out of hospital team it’s a struggle to keep people at home and to prevent patients being admitted inappropriately to the acute hospitals 30 miles away. Discussions are under way to ensure there is very soon an effective ‘out of hospital team’ working locally for this reason. That team would in the future work in conjunction with the new facility’s NHS community beds, when it finally is built, for patients unsuitable to be managed at home.

What is the timescale now?
The project for the middle school site is progressing well and it is intended to submit a joint planning application in July 2017. So the health and care facility could, subject to planning and other permissions, be built and ready in 2019.