Community hospitals offer a range of service which typically includes community beds, clinics, therapy services, diagnostic services and urgent care for minor injuries. A number of hospitals offer services such as maternity, surgery, renal dialysis.
The following examples illustrate the range of services and facilities that community hospitals with beds currently provide. Reviews are sourced from our networks, Trust websites and NHS choices.
Swaffham Community Hospital was built to commemorate Queen Victoria's golden jubilee in 1887 and opened the following year. It now offers an 18-bed general rehabilitation ward, as well as clinics such as diabetes, anticoagulation, X-Ray, continence, speech therapy, podiatry, dermatology, physiotherapy, contraceptive and sexual health services. The hospital serves a population or around 148,000 people across west Norfolk. The community hospital is supported by an active League of Friends, who provide volunteers, and also fund equipment and improvements to the building.
"Swaffham is a perfect example of how you can provide excellent, high quality care to people closer to where they live, helping to keep them out of busy and stretched acute hospitals. Not only is that good for the patient, but is also good for the NHS." Michael Scott, CEO Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust
"Thank you for looking after me, making me feel better when I got down and encouraging me to do things I didn't think I could do." Patient
"The care and attention (shown to my wife) was exemplary. Staff had an ever present concern for the comfort and peace of mind of all of patients and a cheerful atmosphere prevailed at all times." Family Member
"Thank you very much for all the kindness and caring you gave me while I was in your care. I would fully recommend your care to anyone. They will get first class treatment and attention." Patient
Swanage hospital was built in 1894. The hospital has 15 in-patient beds, a Minor Injuries Unit, X-ray and ultrasound, day surgery, endoscopy services and physiotherapy. Clinics are offered from Consultants from three acute hospitals. Support for the community is shown through the provision of a meals-on-wheels service, school meals service, and assistance given to community groups. The hospital is accredited for its end of life care and its surgery. The hospital is very well supported by a very committed Friends of Swanage Hospital. The Friends benefit from donations and legacies, and in 2017 spent £185k on equipment, building work and staff training.
"The hospital is held in very high regard by the town of Swanage." Chair, League of Friends
"The care provided was thorough, professional and reassuring with almost no waiting time before I was seen. We are very lucky to have such a wonderful hospital within our town which is much appreciated by all the residents. Well done Swanage Hospital and thank you." Patient in MIU
"The hospital environment was very clean but bright and cheerful and finally the nursing staff were helpful, caring but professional and respectful. Our thanks to all staff involved in the management of such a gem of a hospital." Patient
"I can't recommend this small hospital and the staff to people enough." Patient.
The hospital offers inpatient care, day surgery, a minor injuries unit, phlebotomy and a range of clinics. The inpatient ward is a nurse led unit with 23 beds. Patients may be transferred from an acute hospital because they need a longer stay in hospital to recuperate, from an operation for example, or if they require intensive rehabilitation services. They could also come direct from their home if they are medically stable. Care is also provided on the ward to patients with end of life needs. A range of staff provide care on the ward including occupational therapists, physiotherapists, nurses and other specialist nurses. Medical cover is provided by GPs and there are also well established links with other medical professionals. Scotter Ward has national recognition for good practice, winning awards through the Academy of NHS Fab Stuff.
"I have used this hospital on several occasions in the past and cannot recommend it enough. Many many thanks to all of the staff." Patient
"Staff were great and efficient." Patient
"I would recommend John Coupland to anyone with a minor injury. This is why we need to keep our community hospitals open and funded, as their care is second to none." Patient
One of the emerging models for developing community hospital services is to develop them as "hubs" – often referred to as "health and wellbeing hubs."
This model concentrates on those services that meet the community's health, social, welfare and associated needs and is concerned with health promotion, well-being, community support, information and resources. The hub model is typically provided in partnership with the voluntary sector, communities, the private sector, social care and health care. Unlike classic community hospitals, the hubs do not provide NHS community beds and often do not provide any urgent care services. Many of the hubs are benefiting from financial support from the community hospital League of Friends.
The CHA is following the development of this model with interest. Please contact the CHA if you would like us to share how your community hospital is being transformed into a community hub. We know of over 100 community hospitals no longer have inpatient beds, and a proportion of these will be developed as hubs. Some examples are shown below.
Shepton Mallet Health Partnership, a joint venture between Care UK and Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, won the contract to run the new Shepton Mallet health and wellbeing campus. This has been described as an innovative solution to providing healthcare that locates on one site a range of NHS community and mental health services. Care UK currently runs the Shepton Mallet NHS Treatment Centre on site. This will be integrated with the community hospital including the diagnostics and minor injury unit, as well as providing a base for the community, including voluntary and third sector organisations through the Community Partnership Group. The inpatient beds in the community hospital are currently closed.
The hospital had an extensive renovation, with a financial contribution made by the Budleigh Salterton League of Friends. A charity, Westbank, is the head lease holder with NHS Property Services Ltd and is responsible for the oversight of the project and running and maintaining of the facility. Services and facilities include: Carousel Nursery, Day Care Centre run by Age Concern, the Hub Café run by a local social enterprise, Neighbourhoods Friends project to support people when they're coming out of hospital, mental health services, NHS Clinics including podiatry, physiotherapy (NHS and private provider), Medical Centre, Audiology and the Budleigh Memory Café.
Bedser Hub, Surrey Was Woking Community Hospital Managed by Virgin Care working with Ashford and St Peters Hospital, Surrey and Borders Partnership, the District and Borough Councils, County Council, South East Coast Ambulance Service, Age UK Surrey and the wider voluntary sector
Bedser hub is managed by Virgin care. Organisations involved in the hub include Ashford and St Peters Hospital, Surrey and Borders Partnership, the District and Borough Councils, County Council, South East Coast Ambulance Service, Age UK Surrey and the wider voluntary sector. The Bedser hub was made possible by a generous donation from the Friends of Woking Community Hospital. Age UK employ "wellbeing coordinators" in the hub who undertake a social assessment. GPs with a multidisciplinary team assess patients and plan their care and support. Further hubs will be opened at Ashford and Weybridge.
The hub is designed to help patients to access prevention services, primary care services and some hospital services such as clinics. The Trust is expanding community services, and this includes a new community assessment and treatment service, which is a frailty assessment service. The beds in Thames are closed, while this service is piloted.
The Ashburton and Buckfastleigh Community Hospital has closed and the site is now being used as an interim Health and Wellbeing Centre. The centre provides local community clinics such as podiatry and physiotherapy.
Wells Community Hospital Trust is a local charity managing the Wells community hospital. Services provided are described as high quality preventative clinical services and non-clinical therapeutic support. The service is a community resource designed to provide a wide range of social, emotional and practical services, including health education, thus enabling people to take greater control of their own health and wellbeing. Services include a renal dialysis service (visitors), a dementia hub, and over 30 different clinics and support groups.
This centre in East London has been described as a pioneer for the model of a community hub or community resource centre. The centre is designed to support people of all ages, and focused on improving health and wellbeing, find employment, and develop confidence.
Health and wellbeing services and facilities include 3 GP practices, social prescribing, macmillan support, health trainers and mens health network.