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Chair's blog

Our plans for the future of intermediate care

06 October 2015

A series of media articles in recent months regarding the NHS rehabilitation units at the Heronwood and Galleon Wards in Wanstead have focused on the views of campaigners who object to local GPs’ proposals to make positive changes to how post-hospital rehabilitation is delivered.

We have made great progress rolling out our community treatment and intensive rehabilitation services, whose staff work hard to not only help people to recover from illness or surgery in their own homes, but also to avoid having to go to hospital in the first place.

These community services have now cared for more than 20,000 patients – ten times the number who would have stayed in rehabilitation units. In fact, community treatment has been so successful that half the beds in those units are no longer being used. That’s a waste of valuable NHS resources and makes no sense at all. We want to make sure our resources are spent on things that are actually needed and used by local people.

So we will move all rehabilitation beds to King George Hospital (KGH) in Ilford by the end of the year and focus more on care at home, where most people want to be.. Any patient who does need an inpatient rehabilitation bed will get one at KGH.

In July 2015 we presented to councillors in Redbridge our preferred option for where on the hospital site these beds should be located: Jasmine, Japonica and Erica wards. Since then, we have had to adapt these plans due to a number of factors including the need for a co-located breast care service at KGH and a Monitor investigation into a contract awarded to Barking Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust. Our new three-phase plan will work around these external factors with all the beds moving to KGH by April 2016:

Phase 1 – By end December 2015: Redbridge intermediate care beds moved from Heronwood and Galleon Wards to KGH Japonica ward.

Phase 2 – March 2016: The 61 beds consolidated at KGH in Jasmine, Japonica and Foxglove wards.

Phase 3 – May 2016: By this date we’ll provide the plan to co-locate all 61 beds at KGH once the above co-dependencies are worked through.

We will continue to work closely with local partners, staff and patients to provide reassurance as we move these plans forward. If you have any questions, you should be able to find the answer in the dedicated intermediate care page on Redbridge CCG’s website.

We understand that people can be wary of change, but we are clear that these plans will deliver improved care for tens of thousands of patients in the three boroughs, plus a rehab bed for any patient who needs one. When the evidence for improving health care for local people is so strong, GPs will always push ahead to make those changes happen. We believe that people – our patients: you and your families – are more important than buildings.