Summer opening for South Tyneside's £9m OAP hub

The first people will be welcomed to South Tyneside new £9m dementia hub in August.

Haven Court operational manager Lee Whitfield and Councillor Tracey Dixon
Haven Court operational manager Lee Whitfield and Councillor Tracey Dixon

Haven Court has been built in the grounds of South Tyneside District Hospital to enable older people, particularly those with dementia, to live independently and to benefit from a top class rehabilitation and therapeutic service focused on enabling them to return to their own homes.

The 80-bed centre will offer a wide range of high quality support and services, including residential, day and respite care, and rehabilitation. There are rooms for medical consultations and assessment of people’s needs and the centre will also offer information and advice, as well as help to use technological aids to support independent living.

Dr Bob Brown, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s Executive Director, Nursing and Patient Safety, said: “Haven Court is a fantastic asset for the people of South Tyneside which promises to be a beacon of excellence for care for older people for years to come and I am delighted that it is so close to opening.”

Forty five staff, including registered nursers, have so far recruited for Haven Court which was created by South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, on behalf of South Tyneside Council.

A second wave of recruitment for administration and reception workers, an activities and volunteer co-ordinator, maintenance worker and hospitality team leader is now nearing completion, which will bring the total number of appointments to more than 60. An additional 20 staff will transfer from the Perth Green House reablement facility in Jarrow.

Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for independence and wellbeing, said: “It is wonderful to see our vision to support the health and wellbeing of people in South Tyneside becoming a reality.

“Haven Court will be a hugely welcome development for the Borough, providing key integrated health and social care, and voluntary services for our older people.”

Haven Court Operational Manager Lee Whitfield said: “We have had a very successful recruitment drive, with a very high calibre of applicants, and the staff we have taken on are all very experienced. They come from a wide variety of specialities but they all have a common purpose - to be at the heart of the local community, providing innovative, person-centred care and support for older people.”

Robertson Construction began work on the state-of-the art building in Spring 2015. Ninety per cent of business associated with the project has gone to North East firms. Recently, there has been a daily average of 130-plus multi-skilled workers on site.

The design of the facility by P&HS Architects allows flexibility to cater for different clinical needs and for those with varying degrees of dementia, with internal and external features such as special colour schemes to help people find their way around and support independent living and general wellbeing.

The decision to build Haven Court was taken in the light of South Tyneside’s ageing population. Currently, older people make up 18 per cent of the Borough’s population but this is estimated to rise to 21 per cent by 2021. By 2030, there is expected to be a 50 per cent rise in the cases of dementia and a 138 per cent increase among those aged over 90.