Lead nurse appointed as work progresses on way forward for Rothbury Community Hospital

A lead nurse has just been appointed as work progresses on the new model of care to be delivered from Rothbury Community Hospital.

Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 9:32 am
Rothbury Community Hospital.

In September, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust revealed that it was planning to introduce a ‘new and innovative’ model of care with increased outpatient clinics, additional clinical and day-care services and, perhaps most importantly, a flexible bed approach by April.

At Tuesday’s (January 7) meeting of Northumberland County Council’s health and wellbeing committee, Jeanette Milne, the trust’s chief matron for community services, provided an update on the creation of the ‘integrated care hub’, which will be run by a new team, in addition to what’s already provided in the area.

The aims and objectives of the new model include avoiding acute hospital admissions through 24-hour community care either in patients’ homes or the six inpatient beds, while taking a proactive approach to long-term conditions.

Other goals include acting as a hub for public-health support, establishing the use of telemedicine and creating outreach clinics.

In terms of progress, a lead nurse has just been appointed, subject to the relevant checks, following interviews on Monday (January 6) and they will be heavily involved in the recruitment of the rest of the team.

A project board is being set up and will meet for the first time towards the end of the month, while dialogue has continued with the Rothbury community.

Ms Milne did, however, accept that there remain challenges, namely recruitment, timescales and communication and understanding of the new model itself.

On recruitment, the lead nurse appointment is a key step and there has been staff interest in the other roles, she said.

On the timescale, she added: “We are hopeful and ambitious we will have something in place by April, but that will be an ongoing process throughout 2020.”

The proposals for Rothbury Community Hospital have come about following the trust and the CCG looking again at the future of the facility, after the Health Secretary ordered that more work needed to be done locally on the next steps.

This was in the wake of the permanent closure of the site’s 12-bed inpatient ward in 2017, one year after a temporary shut-down came into force.

At the health and wellbeing committee meeting last September, members unanimously backed the trust’s proposals and accepted that the directions of the Secretary of State and the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) – a non-departmental public health body which concluded that there were flaws in the CCG’s engagement and consultation processes – had been met.