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Work which will enable both NHS community hospital and residential care to be delivered from Rothbury Community Hospital is now complete.

The health and care partnership, which is the first of its kind, between Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Rothbury Cottage Care Ltd (part of People First Care), will deliver this care for the residents of Rothbury and surrounding villages.

The inpatient ward at the hospital has been transformed into a homely residential care home with the provision of flexible NHS beds. Residents and patients will be able to access the facility from Tuesday January 10 2023.

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

Sir James Mackey, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s CEO said:

“We would like to personally thank every single person who has been involved in enabling this pioneering model of care to become a reality – those in the local community, those who work in our trust and colleagues from Rothbury Cottage Care. A huge amount of planning and hard work has gone into this and we thank people for their dedication, determination and patience. We are sure that both NHS patients and care home residents will receive compassionate and high-quality care and that this facility is very welcomed by Rothbury and the surrounding communities. I wish everyone the best for the opening.”

The care facility has 12 en-suite bedrooms and residents and NHS patients will enjoy home-cooked food which will be prepared on site. The refurbished day room and lounge provides space for patients to relax, socialise and do various activities. There is also a laundry room.

Marion Dickson, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals said:

“We are absolutely delighted that work to transform the in-patient ward at Rothbury Community Hospital has been completed to such an excellent standard. The space is so homely and welcoming, which is very important as most people accessing the facility will be elderly and vulnerable. This partnership between the trust and Rothbury Cottage Care is an excellent example of integrated healthcare being delivered in local community and of the person receiving care being at the centre of decision making.

“We know that monitoring and evaluating this model of care will be essential so that any improvements or changes can be made and people should be assured of our commitment to do this. Thank you to everyone involved.”

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. The trust can then make any changes that are required.

Nigel Dawson, director of Rothbury Cottage Care Ltd said:

“We are delighted that this work is now completed. The finish of the facility is beyond our initial expectations. It is a very homely, welcoming and comfortable environment for people to be cared for in. Residents and patients will be able to enjoy home cooked meals in a new kitchen and will be able to use the hair salon and day centre. Having our own laundry on site is also a big benefit.

“We are really looking forward to welcoming both residents and NHS patients and I am pleased to say there is already a strong interest from the local community. I would like to thank all those who have been involved – it is great to be working in partnership with the NHS to provide care which is much needed.”

A range of people and groups from the local community have been instrumental in the development of this model of care.

Katie Scott, co-ordinator of the ‘Save Rothbury Community Hospital Campaign’ team said:

“It is difficult to express how proud and happy we are that this vision has now become a reality. We have been fighting for this outcome for six years, and we are absolutely delighted at the end result. Rothbury Cottage Care, and the NHS beds, will be of great benefit to our community, and in particular, to the most vulnerable.”

Councillor Steven Bridgett, county councillor for the Rothbury division said:

“I am very pleased that this care facility, which will provide invaluable community hospital and residential care to our local communities, is going to finally open in the new year. Thank you to the trust, Rothbury Cottage Care and to the GP practice who will support the model of care. This is a very good example of how care can be integrated and can only benefit our local residents. It has taken a while to get to this point and I appreciate everyone’s input and hard work to make this happen.”

Watch a virtual tour of the new facility in the video below.

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