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Plans to make best use of our community hospitals move a step closer

A patient and doctor having a discussion on a hospital ward.

Last month our governing body discussed looking into how to make best use of our community hospitals in Southampton, by co-locating our physical rehab beds for older people with those for older people with mental health problems at the Western, and in turn releasing space at the RSH for several new care developments.

This would involve relocating rehabilitation wards from Royal South Hants Hospitals into a new, purpose-built accommodation at the Western Community Hospital, increasing bed numbers and providing modern facilities.

An Outline Business Case was presented, which set out the case to reprovide 43 step-up/step-down beds at the Royal South Hants Hospital in new, purpose-built accommodation at the Western Community Hospital.  In doing so, this would increase bed numbers to 50 (half of which will be in single en-suite rooms).

Alongside this we would be able to make full and effective use of buildings and land at the Royal South Hants Hospital, including:

  • the development of a 150-unit ‘Housing with Care’ facility,
  • a 70-bed care home with Nursing,
  • and up to 80 units of ‘Key Worker’ accommodation.

The governing body approved the Outline Business Case, noting that this is an agreement to move to the next stage – which is to develop the Full Business Case – in a long process and not a final approval of the overall scheme.  At the current time it is anticipated a new build at Western Community Hospital would cost £16.3million.  This figure includes the cost for the new build, allowance for planning contingencies and optimism bias.

It was also noted Solent NHS Trust also has to consider the Outline Business Case before we progress to the next stage.

Following the meeting, John Richards, Chief Executive Officer at NHS Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group said:

“We are excited about the possibility of improving services for local people, but these proposals are at a very early stage.  There is a long way to go until we will know whether these plans can be made into a reality.

“Last week an Outline Business Case went to our CCG’s governing body and was approved.  There are a number of further decisions to be made before a full, comprehensive business case can be put together.  

“With everything the CCG does, our patients come first, which is why we are already speaking with patient groups about these proposals and will continue to do so over the coming months.    We are mindful that, with any proposed move of facilities, we need to take into account the impact on people in Southampton.

“If we were able to move beds to a new build at Western Community Hospital, there would be the opportunity to make full and effective use of buildings and land at the Royal South Hants Hospital. 

“For instance, our ideas at this time include the possibility of using the land currently occupied by the empty Department of Psychiatry eyesore, which we know is unpopular with local residents, into a state of the art ‘Housing with Care’ facility.  There is also the prospect of developing key worker housing and a care home.   We are working very closely with Southampton City Council and NHS Property Services to develop these plans, which are also at a very early stage.”