Halesworth: Grant of £800,000 awarded for new health and social care centre

ECCH managing director Tracy Cannell

ECCH managing director Tracy Cannell - Credit: Archant

MAJOR funding has been awarded to drive forward plans for a new integrated health and social care centre with nursing homes beds in Halesworth.

East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH), a social enterprise which provides NHS community health services, has been awarded a grant of £800,000 from the Department of Health to take forward the development and fund the purchase of land.

ECCH has been working with Halesworth Health, a charity formed by local care organisations, to create a vision for an integrated health and social care centre which would enable people to be cared for in the community rather than travel long distances to acute hospitals.

This would include admission of patients from home by GPs, rehabilitation and re-ablement, end-of-life care, continuing health care, dementia care and general nursing home care.

Tracy Cannell, managing director of ECCH, said: “We are delighted and grateful to receive a grant of this magnitude. It is a crucial first step to help us achieve our vision. The Department of Health has placed great faith in the proposals, which they wholly support.

“This is the result of months of hard work, pulling together a detailed business case and talking to potential investment partners.

“It is also, more importantly, a proposal which will help to improve integrated care for the people of Halesworth.”

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Negotiations are under way to purchase land which ECCH believes is suitable, which could include land adjacent to the current hospital. If successful, detailed plans would need to be drawn up to support a planning application.

There are further discussions which also need to take place with investment partners, who would help fund the building costs.

Doctors Richard Kell and Annette Abbott, from Cutlers Hill Surgery, said: “Halesworth Health’s aspiration over the last two years has been to safeguard and develop integrated local health and social care services.

“We are delighted that ECCH wishes to take this project forward in partnership with Halesworth Health and we see the grant as a major step forward in achieving our objectives.”

Suffolk County Councillor and Waveney District Councillor Tony Goldson said: “This together with the Campus project (for a community resource centre and sports complex) will provide the residents of Halesworth and the surrounding areas with modern health, fitness and well-being facilities fit for the future.”

Halesworth Health was established as an informal network in 2011 by Cutlers Hill Surgery, Patrick Stead Hospital League of Friends, Halesworth Community Nursing Care Fund and Community First Responders.

It grew out of discussion over a number of years between health professionals, the NHS, Waveney District Council, Halesworth Town Council and the local community about how to protect and sustain health and care services in Halesworth.

It held a public exhibition in January which set out its vision for integrated care – offering an increased range of health and social care services to improve health outcomes for local people, reduce health inequalities and promote a better quality of life through integration of health care, social care, recreational and educational initiatives.

Halesworth is further from the closest acute hospitals than any other locality in the Suffolk or Great Yarmouth and Waveney area and it is an hour by car or half a day by public transport from any of the three usual district general hospitals.

Life expectancy in Halesworth is greater than the average and therefore – as expected in an older population – more patients are susceptible to multiple longer-term illnesses, dementia and falls.

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