Edenbridge residents were invited by the NHS to view some early designs, sketches and plans of what the town’s new centre, replacing the current hospital and GP surgery, could look like.
The event, held at the WI Hall, was attended by more than 120 local residents.
Chaired by Edenbridge’ MP Tom Tugendhat, the presentation was organised by NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) and Edenbridge Medical Practice.
The evening was arranged to help describe the kind of services that could be available at the new centre, how it could be run and to showcase some of the initial design ideas around what the new centre could look like.
Speaking at the event, Carl Dodd, Project Manager, told the audience: “We know we’ve got to make the building very sustainable. It needs to have very low running costs and be accessible for everyone. It has to be flexible to enable different organisations to work together and enjoy working together. All too often services are delivered out of buildings which aren’t really fit for purpose. It is our intention to make this a great place to work, which will encourage recruitment so that the GP practice can find the partners they need.”
Victoria Cover, Head of Clinical Services – Urgent Care and Hospitals at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT), highlighted how the new centre would enable a new more joined-up approach to care. She said: “Most of the current services at the hospital are expected to transfer to the new building, including community nursing, a day hospital and care for minor injuries. So, a patient could essentially have an x-ray, a blood test and visit to a consultant all in one day, which means they wouldn’t have to travel very much.
“But that’s not all. The work we’ve done together on a new clinical model means that the centre will have a more holistic approach to healthcare. By working together as a single, integrated team, GPs, community nurses, mental health nurses, social care professionals and voluntary groups, we will be able to discuss, manage and support a patient’s health and social needs more quickly.”
“The new way of working will also include:
supporting people at home and helping them stay independent for longer
rolling out a Buurtzorg nursing team – a nurse-led model of holistic care to improve independence and improved quality of life – by looking after both patients’ health and social care needs, and
using new technologies to ensure a smarter way of working.
Social prescribing was also emphasised as an essential ingredient in building support for patients. Dr Simon Morrison, Senior Partner at Edenbridge Medical Practice, told the audience: “Most doctors prescribe pills and potions, but actually not all your health is determined by medicines. Family, friends, employment, housing, exercise, diet, culture, spiritual factors and connections to your community can all have an impact on your health. That’s why GPs are increasingly talking about social prescribing. Although a slightly cumbersome phrase, it just means prescribing something non-medical – a range of services that people can plug in to.”
Turning to the important issue of the War Memorial, Dr Simon Morrison and other panel members gave assurance that they fully intended to work with the town on a respectful legacy from the original cottage hospital and the men in whose memory it was built.
Dr Morrison said: “We are keen that the memorial moves with us to the new building but if that is not the case, we will create some other memorial. We will also seek to memorialise the generosity of the families who donated to the construction of the hospital. It is important to remember that an essential part of the Memorial was the work done in the hospital and that will continue to develop and evolve in the new building.
“The actual decision on where to site the current memorial lies with the Town Council, who will be consulting with the public.”
Adam Wickings, Deputy Managing Director of NHS West Kent CCG, reminded people of what the Programme Board has been doing since the NHS agreed to take the project forward in July 2017. Its members have:
started work on a new clinical model and operating model
worked with partners and the local community
set up four work streams to lead work on the different aspects of developing the centre
started working through the various different planning processes
established a rigorous evaluation process
identified a suitable site to build the new building.
Earlier in the month, land on Four Elms Road – owned by Kent County Council near the Eden Centre – was identified as the preferred site. This decision was based on: size, availability, access to public transport, proximity to the town centre, environmental impact and how it will fit in with local council plans.
Natalie Davies, Corporate Services Director, from KCHFT invited local people to get further involved in the development of the new centre over the months to come. She said: “Going forward, residents of Edenbridge will be able to have a say in the future of the War Memorial, naming of the new centre and the services it will offer as well as how the building will look and feel inside. We will also be looking to run local art competitions, involving local schools.”
Anyone who missed the event and would like to find out more can come and see the display boards showing some of the initial design ideas until 7 January 2019 in the foyer at The Eden Centre, Four Elms Road, Edenbridge.
A separate drop-in session, for people to meet members of the Edenbridge project team and ask questions, will take place from 10.30am to 1pm on Wednesday 19 December 2018 at The Eden Centre (Room One).