Published: Thursday, 29th March 2018

Medway is to receive up to £15.5 million of government funding to improve health services in the area.

Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for planning and buying local NHS services, has been successful in three funding bids from the Department of Health and Social Care.

Up to £8.5 million will be allocated to the development of a health and wellbeing centre in Chatham, which will be purpose-built to provide sustainable and integrated primary and community services in the heart of the community. Up to £6 million will be used to build another health and wellbeing centre in Strood and up to £1 million will transform urgent treatment at Medway Maritime Hospital, ensuring patients are directed to the most clinically appropriate service.

Joining up local health and care services

Stuart Jeffery, Chief Operating Officer at Medway CCG, said: “This is fantastic news for patients in the area and means we can put our plans for the Chatham and Strood Healthy Living Centres into practice sooner than anticipated. Chatham is one of the most deprived areas in Medway and with the growing population across Medway, it is particularly good news for local care.  

“The plans are part of the development of the Medway Model – a new way of joining up local health and care services so that, where appropriate and possible, they can be delivered closer to people’s homes. We have been engaging with local residents for some time and we know this is what most people want. The plans are also key to the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership Local Care agenda, providing more services at a local level.”

‘One stop shop’

Medway CCG spoke to more than 150 Chatham residents over the summer of 2017 to ask them specifically what they wanted from a new Healthy Living Centre at the Clover Street site. The public were very supportive of a community space that will become a ‘one stop shop’ including general medical services, wellbeing, mental health and social care. The CCG also consulted with GPs, clinicians and frontline staff on the new way of joining up local services.

The Strood Healthy Living Centre will be based on a similar model and will also be a ‘one stop shop’ for patients. 

‘We are delighted’

Cllr Adrian Gulvin, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Resources, said: “We are delighted with the funding announcement. The council has been leading the One Public Estate initiative locally, including the plans for Chatham and Strood. We are pleased the work we have been doing has led to this funding. The introduction of health and wellbeing centres in Strood and Chatham will improve access to a range of health services for local residents. The proposals include excellent health services and there are also plans to build much needed town centre housing above the Chatham centre.”

Up to £1 million has been allocated to the redevelopment of the Urgent Care Centre near the A&E Department at Medway Maritime Hospital. The capital funding will provide a lounge for mental health patients, an improved waiting room, eight treatment rooms, and a designated area for the diagnosis and treatment of deep vein thrombosis.

Urgent care centre will ‘simplify’ the system

Stuart Jeffery added: “The development of the Urgent Care Centre will simplify the urgent care system for most people; ensuring speedy access to the most appropriate specialists; improving patient experience and health outcomes; and make the best use of skilled staff. Although plans for the centre were already being put into place, this funding will allow us to make physical changes to the hospital building that will further improve the patient experience.”

Great news for the community

Lesley Dwyer, Chief Executive of Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is great news for our community and for the NHS in Medway and builds on improvements we have already made at the hospital. The funding for the Urgent Care Centre will mean a brighter, purpose-built environment for urgent care patients, fully integrated with our newly-redeveloped Emergency Department and other hospital services. Together they will provide comprehensive, high quality care, ensuring more patients can be treated in the right place, providing a better experience for them and allowing our Emergency Department team to focus on those who need emergency care.”

Funding to transform hospital services 

The capital funding is part of a £760 million package announced at the Autumn Budget, which is being allocated to the NHS to trigger an unprecedented acceleration of service modernisation. Forty NHS hospitals and community services will receive funding for plans to modernise and transform their buildings and services in the year of the NHS’s 70th birthday.

Backed by the Department of Health and Social Care, STPs are groups of local NHS leaders and staff working with councils who arrange joined-up social care and other community health services. They look at the needs of patients and design service plans bespoke to the area, offering care that is closer to home and means fewer trips to the hospital.

Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership

The Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership is a collaboration of all NHS organisations across Kent and Medway, Kent County Council and Medway Council, all of which are involved in the planning, provision and delivery of health and social care services in the area. The Partnership oversees the development of the health and care Sustainability and Transformation Plan for Kent and Medway.

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