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WALSALL: New dementia care unit planned

WALSALL: New dementia care unit planned

An artist impression of a proposed new dementia care facility at Dorothy Pattison Hospital in Walsall. PIC: Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Striking pictures show what a proposed dementia care facility might look if it is built on the site of a Walsall mental health hospital.

Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust wants to demolish a disused renal unit at Dorothy Pattison Hospital, on Alumwell Close, and replace it with a new care building.

Existing services at Bloxwich Hospital, which health bosses say are under-used, will relocate to the new facility.

It will feature a  10 bed dementia ward and a 15 bed older persons ward, therapy and living spaces if members of Walsall Council’s planning committee give the green light to plans on Thursday (December 2).

In its application, the Trust said it was looking to create a ‘homely’ feel for patients who will be using the new Walsall facility.

It said: “Bloxwich hospital was designed to provide a maternity service and
was attached to an existing old building. The hospital is currently occupied by an older person and dementia wards.

“The building has high maintenance and redecoration costs with low occupancy rates due, in part, to a restrictive covenant on the older part of the

“The NHS Trust has been through an options appraisal. The conclusion of this process is to relocate the two wards located at Bloxwich Hospital to the Dorothy Pattison Hospital site.

“NHS England / NHS Improvement have provided supporting role ensuring
accountability, responsibility and best practice Is applied to the project.

“This has included reviewing all vacant land and estate requirements to ensure the best outcome.”

It added: “The overall requirement for the new development is to provide a
therapeutic environment; the characteristics of which are that patients should be admitted to the ward for the shortest possible time and treated in a way which creates the least disruption to their lives with access to the most appropriate medication and treatment programmes.

“It is recognised that being admitted to hospital can, at times, be a frightening and daunting experience, so the Trust is aiming to create a welcoming and reassuring environment.

“The spaces within the development should be flexible to allow patients to engage in group and individual activities and at all-times ensure the patients privacy and dignity.

“The flexibility should also ensure that changes in models of care can be achieved without the need for recourse to refurbishment of existing spaces.

“The design of each ward and the shared area should provide patients with informal spaces to sit and talk with staff.

“There will also be dedicated private rooms such as counselling rooms to allow
discussion with patients who wish to speak with staff in a more private environment.

“The Trust wish the general atmosphere of the wards to be light and with a ‘homely’ feel.”

Walsall Council planning officers said there had been no objections to the proposal during the consultation phase and are recommending committee members approve it subject to conditions.

They said: “The proposal relates to the demolition of a vacant health care facility within a hospital site and replacement with a new health care facility.

“The proposed scheme is a replacement of the speciality dementia ward and mixed sex functional older adult ward at Bloxwich Hospital. The principle of development is considered acceptable within this location.”

Words: Gurdip Thandi, Local Democracy Reporter

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