Silverstone Parish Council

Serving the people of Silverstone

Silverstone sign.

Clerk: Cherie Carruthers
12 The Slade, Silverstone
Northamptonshire NN12 8UH

Tel: 07771933186

Update from Caryl Billingham about Brackley Community Hospital

As the season of Annual Parish Meetings was approaching, I have to admit that I was very much looking forward to visiting so many of our local villages whose residents are patients of one of the two Brackley GP surgeries. I had intended to show the plans for the new Community Hospital and update you on the progress with fund-raising towards those items which are "over and above" standard NHS issue but which will help to make anybody's time, however short or however long, in the new building an even nicer experience than it might otherwise be.

The building was scheduled to be finished by the end of May with fitting out anticipated to take some four to six weeks after that. Although some work on a limited scale continues at the site, this is dependent on the type of work. If a workman can operate alone or whilst maintaining the necessary social distancing, then the work can proceed – if not, well, you know the answer.

All fund-raising activity has necessarily come to a halt and events are being mothballed to be resurrected, with plans to be finalised, once "normal service is resumed".

So, to update you on the building itself, the Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust (better known as the "NHS") will be renting space for consulting rooms for visiting specialists; this will save many local residents trekking into Oxford and Northampton with their accompanying difficulties of heavy traffic and parking. There will also be a physiotherapy unit, podiatry, occupational health, some rooms to be used for wellbeing pursuits and health charities, and there will be a café on the ground floor. The second floor will be home to 16 intermediate care beds: these will be essentially "step-down" beds. I see these being used quite often if a patient is well enough to be moved from the acute care of one of our larger hospitals but not yet well or able enough to be discharged back to their home. They can also be used for a step-up purpose: building somebody up prior to major surgery, for example. Additionally, they will provide a facility for respite care and for end-of-life palliative care. There will be a family room for visitors to stay if appropriate, and there will be a kitchen and dining-room – all meals will be freshly cooked, a legacy from the old Cottage Hospital which the NHS was determined to continue. There will be a pharmacy on site.

The Brackley Medical Centre (formerly Washington House Surgery and Brackley Health Centre) will be moving, lock, stock and barrel, into the new building. They will have consulting rooms and reception on the ground floor with some administrative functions in rooms on the first floor. Their walk-in clinic facility will continue on this site. Springfield Surgery is remaining at its premises just off Pavillons Way: there are some negotiations ongoing as to whether the walk-in facility may have extended hours at which point it would become available to all patients of both practices (Springfield has its own system while the building is open).

But, rest assured, every NHS facility within the building will be there for any patient of either GP practice – and may even attract more from, for instance, Silverstone and Greens Norton.

Onto the money side, some of the things that we are seeking to contribute towards are:

  • A digital state-of-the-art X-ray machine which will give better and faster results, but at a very high cost. This is estimated to cost £165,000 and is our initial target. The NHS will put in an x-ray machine but their funding would allow only a rudimentary model which would 'do the job' – eventually. Public fundraising can ensure something better for all our local residents.
  • An ultra-sound scanner at a cost of approximately £40,000. Again, this would save the journeys to other hospitals and free up facilities which are going to be seeing increased demand as the housebuilding programmes continue and all our towns grow ever larger.
  • Ideally, on the basis that many of the patients will be elderly, relatively infirm and not overly mobile, the NHS would like special, electrically-operated, rise-and-fall, recliner armchairs. These have a great therapeutic benefit alongside the psychological benefit of being out of the bed for long periods of the day. They do not, however, come cheap and cost around £2,500 each once the full specification has been taken into account. One for each room and that's another £40,000 on our list.
  • It would be good to have a few, more basic, recliner chairs which could be moved from room to room and would enable a family member or friend to stay overnight with a patient who was near end of life. It is envisaged that these would cost about £1,000 each and that four would be adequate. Peanuts really, in comparison, but another £4,000 nonetheless.
  • Finally, we would like to see a television set in each of the 16 rooms. These will not only offer entertainment for the patients but would be Smart TVs so they would have Skype and Facetime facilities enabling families to keep in touch with their loved ones, even if they are unable to travel to and from the hospital. The anticipated cost of one of these sets is £500; it is higher than you would have expected because there is a desire to make them compatible with the NHS Pathway which would ensure confidential discussions to take place remotely between consultant, patient and family. We are therefore looking at £8,000 here. It is important to add that these TV sets will be free to view.

It all stacks up quite alarmingly, but we are doing well so far. We have a thermometer on our website and the figure raised to date as at 10 April is £122,357, so we are three-quarters of the way towards our initial target. This has been boosted by some excellent fund-raising events and some very generous personal donations, but principally by a pledge of £95,000 from the Brackley Hospital Trust: this is the charity that was set up in 1991 to run the old Cottage Hospital and it was agreed that their residual funds, after closure, would in due course be used towards equipment for the new Community Hospital.

I had planned a 'sales pitch' for the Annual Parish Meetings. I appreciate that the sums mentioned above can seem quite overwhelming and totally out of reach, especially for a relatively small village. They are difficult to get your head round even in Brackley, which now has a population approaching 17,000. However, I was hoping to reduce it into bite-sized chunks and I was going to ask each village whether they would consider organising one community event within the village with a specific target of raising £500 towards the new hospital. If 16 villages were able to do that, that would purchase all the TV sets in one fell swoop, and I know that several villages already had plans which have had to be put on hold.

I would therefore ask if you could consider taking on this challenge once we are all up and running again and help to make the new Brackley Community Hospital a facility in which we can all take pride, from which we can all benefit and in which we all have a sense of ownership.

The Brackley Community Hospital 2020 Trust is a charity that was set up specially to manage the publicly raised funds. Trustees will be happy to support your fund-raising events in whatever way they can – even if we are only required to offer a presence and answer any questions that may arise.

Your support is greatly appreciated, and I am happy to hear from any of you at any time.

Thank you.

Caryl Billingham MBE

Chairman, Brackley Community Hospital 2020 Trust (registered number 1185445)

Posted: Mon, 13 Apr 2020 09:27 by James Laband

Tags: News