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Green light given for new £5m Manchester integrated care unit

A new £5m intermediate care unit at North Manchester General Hospital has received planning permission from Manchester City Council.

The unit is a joint partnership between Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which operates services at the hospital, the council and North Manchester CCG.

The proposals are part of a growing drive towards greater integrated care in the city, which became the first to gain devolved health powers in April. It has also developed ambitious plans to merge North Manchester, Central Manchester and South Manchester CCGs with the city council; to join Pennine Acute, Central Manchester University Hospital FT and University Hospital of South Manchester FT together; and to establish a local care organisation for out-of-hospital care.

Professor Matt Makin, medical director at Pennine Acute, which recently received an ‘inadequate’ rating from the CQC, said: “We are working with our commissioners and our healthcare partners across Greater Manchester on developing North Manchester as a local hospital site that provides ‘Best in Class’ services for patients with complex multi-morbid conditions.

“North Manchester General will be supported through the improvement work that is happening across Pennine Acute in partnership with Salford Royal and will benefit from new site leadership arrangements and investment such as this to benefit patients and their families.”

The unit will consist of 24 beds, replacing services currently provided by nine temporary beds in the main hospital and 15 beds in Henesy House community home. It will house predominantly older patients who live in the community but require a period of rehabilitation, and patients discharged from acute care who still need support in a community setting.

The unit will become part of the trust’s Community Assessment and Support Service (CASS), a new integrated service that aims to avoid admissions, reduce length of stay and improve patient and carer experiences. Recent Royal College of Emergency Medicine analysis highlighted that the NHS is facing critical pressure on hospital beds this winter, in part due to delayed discharges of elderly patients.

Cllr Paul Andrews, executive member for adult health and wellbeing at Manchester City Council, said: “We need to move to a position where this person looks at all aspects of a person's health – including how they will manage once they are getting ready to leave hospital.

“Joining medical, community and social support is not only a strong holistic move, but it is preventative too so that people have chance to fully recover.”

Professor Makin added that the unit would “have a welcoming homely feel for patients with a sunken communal garden and a mock apartment to help patients adjust to home life again”.

Patients could receive support from professionals including nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, GPs, assistant practitioners, health care assistants, pharmacists, speech and language services, podiatrists and social care workers.

Dr Martin Whiting, chief clinical officer at North Manchester CCG, said the unit was “a vital service” that would allow patients to “get back on their feet” over stays of around three weeks.

The building is designed on a low-rise design and will take about a year to build. Members of the public are being invited to take part in a competition to name it.

(Image c. Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust)

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