Major new national investment announced for health and care in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent

The announcement of major new government investment to support the transformation of health and care services in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent has received a warm welcome.

The Department of Health and Social Care has approved two separate capital funding bids from Together We’re Better (TWB), the local health and care partnership of NHS and local government, alongside a number of independent organisations.

A total of £21.9m has been allocated for the development of a health and care campus on the Outwoods site at Queen’s Hospital in Burton. In addition, £1.6m has been approved to develop a mental health crisis care centre and detoxification suite at Harplands Hospital in North Staffordshire, as well as four crisis cafes in the county.

Plans for the Outwoods site include supported housing, ‘step down’ services for patients to receive further care before returning home, a nursery and residential and keyworker accommodation. A community hub will be the heart of the development and provide a space for residents, service users and visitors to interact and support each other.

Gavin Boyle, Chief Executive of UHDB said: “The Healthcare Village will operate as an integrated care facility, bringing health and social services together to provide the people of Burton and surrounding areas with the best care. We are very pleased that funding has been allocated to our proposals and look forward to working with Together We’re Better, the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent STP and our partners to deliver this new model of care.”

The crisis care centre will include a crisis lounge and three places of calm for people experiencing mental health issues. It will also provide working space for social care staff, police and voluntary sector workers so they can support patients once they are ready for discharge.

The urgent care and detoxification centre will allow people experiencing substance misuse issues to recover in safety and for care and support to be planned once they are ready to go home. The crisis cafes will be located in East Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Stafford and Staffordshire Moorlands and support people experiencing mental health problems.

Caroline Donovan, Chief Executive at North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Harplands Hospital, said: “Currently, people who are having a mental health crisis can feel they have nowhere to go. Very often, they will go to A&E because they know it will be open. However, A&Es are staffed and equipped to deal with physical and not mental health emergencies. A&E also specialises in dealing with immediate life-saving problems and is not there to plan on-going care or assessment.

Caroline, who also serves as Senior Responsible Owner for TWB’s Mental Health programme, added: “These new specialist facilities will be able to offer more appropriate places for people experiencing crises involving either mental health or substance misuse problems. They will not just see them through the immediate problem but help provide joined-up care once they leave.”

The announcement follows the £8.8m of extra Government money for University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) to fund two new modular wards at Royal Stoke University Hospital. The wards will be opening in the new year and will provide additional bed capacity to the system should it be needed.

Simon Whitehouse, Director of Together We’re Better said: “The announcement of this very substantial capital funding is a fantastic way to end 2018 and I’d like to thank and congratulate everyone who was involved in submitting these successful bids.

“The health and care campus at Outwoods will realise a key priority for Together We’re Better; utilising the local NHS estate to its fullest potential, whilst integrating health and care services to benefit the population we serve. This is an approach that we want to see developed across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

“The crisis care centre and detoxification suite at Harplands, alongside the four crisis cafes will greatly support the commitment of our partners to ensuring mental and physical health are given equal value and help achieve the ambition of our Mental Health programme to more effectively support people experiencing mental health crisis.”