Overcoming delays caused by the Covid19 Pandemic, the long awaited health and care facility was able to open in the autumn of 2020 with the first rehabilitation patients being admitted in the spring of 2021.  The design of the facility has supported safe working arrangements during this period with room layouts and rooms sizes maintaining social distancing.  Core services (GP appointments, Podiatry, Physiotherapy, Children’s Speech & Language Therapy, Community Nursing and 0 – 19 team base) previously provided in the Brackley Health Centre and Washington House Surgery smoothly moved in and are all now operating from the new venue. 

In the summer we were able to welcome back partner organisations with MIND able to recommence their weekly group from the wellbeing suite which is situated to the left of the main entrance on the ground floor.   We are now planning for the opening of the café and to increase the range and number of groups being provided to include a Memory Hub (approach currently being successfully tested in Corby) and Strength and Balance classes to help reduce risk of falls, especially for people who have spent significant periods of the past two years shielding. 

We initially opened with eight beds in use on the second floor with an increase to ten in the summer and to date almost 60 patients have been supported with their recovery through the new local beds.

The NHS nationally has set out a vision of increasing the range of outpatient and diagnostic/near patient testing, traditionally provided at large Acute Hospital sites, which should be available in local community hubs.  The new facility at Brackley is highlighted as the type of integrated health and care venue which will support this, building on initial x-ray capacity, and we expect an ongoing increase in the range of services provided locally for all ages. 

The amazing fundraising in support of the new facility continues to benefit local people with additional equipment to support work of physiotherapists, assisting inpatients with their recovery and ongoing care and, when the x-ray facility is fully functioning, increasing the type and number of tests which can be undertaken at Brackley.  We will be forever grateful for all of the support of the people of Brackley and surrounding villages.  To create the new facility has been a collective team effort over many years! 

We know that the next few months will be very testing for health and social care with the combination of ongoing pandemic, greater risk from flu and the backlog for elective care but are confident that the wonderful new facility in Brackley will play a key part in helping to successfully navigate the immediate future and enable us to continue to create enhanced service provision locally for many years to come. 

Giles West, Deputy Director of Operational Transformation, NHFT.  Giles is the Community Resilience Transformation Lead for Integrated Care Across Northamptonshire.

October 2021