Work began last month on the integrated health and social care hub that will revolutionise the way care and support is provided for older people in South Tyneside, especially those with dementia.
Now the search is on for a name for the £9million centre, which is being built in the grounds of South Tyneside District Hospital by South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, on behalf of South Tyneside Council.
The new hub will, undoubtedly, enhance the quality of care for older people in South Tyneside for years to come.Steve Williamson, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust
It is expected to be the biggest of its kind in the UK when it opens in the late spring of 2016.
Steve Williamson, the Trust’s chief operating officer, said: “The new hub will, undoubtedly, enhance the quality of care for older people in South Tyneside for years to come.
“We want them, and their families, to be very much part of this exciting development from the beginning and to feel it belongs to them.
“Consequently, we would like to invite suggestions from local people for a name for it which means something to them.”
The centre of excellence for joined-up care will involve key health and social care organisations, and voluntary sector agencies including Age UK South Tyneside.
It is seen by the council as a major part of its response to the borough’s ageing population and increasing numbers of people with dementia.
Mr Williamson added: “Our Trust’s vision is to be the premier combined hospital, community and wellbeing provider in the North East by 2020.
“The hub is one of the first ground-breaking initiatives which will help us to realise this ambition.”
Lead member for adult social care and support services at South Tyneside Council, Coun Mary Butler, was at the sod-cutting ceremony to mark the official start of work on the site.
She said: “It will be fantastic to see this facility start to take shape over the coming months.
“This state-of-the-art centre will allow us to offer better and more co-ordinated services for our older people – particularly those with dementia – as well as their carers and families.”
The hub will provide support to enable older people to live as independently as possible in their community for as long as possible and, in particular, will incorporate features that support adults with dementia, drawing upon the latest research from leading thinkers in the field of dementia care.
John Briers, chief executive, Age UK South Tyneside, said: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and South Tyneside Council to drive forward integrated health and social care for older people living in South Tyneside.
“Older people want to experience health and social care as a single service, one that enables them to enjoy a good quality of life wherever possible, and that also ensures smooth transitions between home and hospital where it is not.
“Age UK South Tyneside puts the needs of each older person first, creating a tailored plan of support through our own and partners’ services.
“The new integrated care services hub will help us to achieve these goals and put our work based practice at the heart of the community.”
Robertson Construction is the contractor for the project and P+HS Architects’ design will bring together a range of services under one roof, streamlining access to information, support and services.
There will be 80 beds, with about 30 people living on the site and others accessing beds for short breaks, rehabilitation services before returning home or to prevent avoidable hospital admissions.
There will also be rooms for medical consultations and assessments of people’s needs.
The welcoming environment will feature light-filled dining and social areas; spacious en-suite bedrooms; mini-kitchens; small, cosy spaces for quiet times and safe access to landscaped gardens.
Trust chief executive Lorraine Lambert said: “The hub is an extremely exciting development and we are privileged to have been given this opportunity to provide the borough with what I am certain will be a fantastic asset which is already attracting interest from health and social care experts across the UK.”