06 January 2014, London

Eltham Community Hospital gets the green light

A significant improvement to local healthcare in Greenwich has been agreed with contracts being signed for the new Eltham Community Hospital (ECH).

The purpose-built 4,200sqm facility will eventually serve the health and well-being needs of thousands of local people in Eltham and Greenwich. Among the services to be based at the hospital will be two GP practices, Eltham Palace Surgery and Eltham Medical Practice. Combined, these surgeries serve the needs of almost 16,000 patients.

Coordinated care services

In addition, the hospital’s diagnostic suites will give GPs and health professionals access to equipment including ECG, non-obstetric ultrasound, echocardiogram and X-Ray. There will be 40 intermediary care beds, out-patient consulting rooms with the capacity to treat around 32,000 people per year, as well as a minor surgery suite to deliver up to 1,500 low complexity procedures per year.

Meanwhile, a variety of community services will also be relocated to the hospital, such as mental health, community nursing, physiotherapy and pediatric departments.

Eltham Community Hospital is being developed through the Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) programme by BBG Lift Company, a public private partnership between Community Health Partnerships (CHP) and LIFT Healthcare Investments Ltd, a consortium of four companies.  NHS Greenwich CCG, the Royal Borough of Greenwich, CHP and BBG LIFTCo have worked closely to ensure feedback from residents has been incorporated to create a good facility for local people.

Benefits to local community

Hany Wahba, local GP and chair of NHS Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We are delighted that this project is going ahead to provide excellent new healthcare services for local people in Greenwich. This new community hospital has been developed as a coordinated care service to integrate GPs, district nurses and social care. This will benefit patients by bringing health and social care together in one place for easy access.

“This will be especially beneficial for those with complex needs and long term conditions as services will be working together to help patients and carers to learn about self-management at home.”

Work already underway

Preparations for construction works have already began and the building work is scheduled for completion by December 2014.  It is hoped that services will begin to move in to the site from the start of 2015 at the latest.

Neil McElduff, Executive Director, Community Health Partnerships, which is the national LIFT Programme lead, said: “The new Eltham Community Hospital will be a modern facility, which will enable the delivery of high quality integrated clinical and community services, which the local population is desperate for. The LIFT programme has successfully delivered a significant range of health and regeneration benefits for some of the most disadvantaged parts of England through the creation of community-based buildings and facilities, which deliver 21st century health and social care. Eltham Community Hospital will be a fine addition to the LIFT portfolio.”

The new facility has the strong endorsement of the Local Authority, professional staff and other key stakeholders and has met the four key National “Tests” set by the Secretary of State in 2010.  It is ideally sited in line with the needs of the local population in particular providing services appropriate for and accessible to the particular needs of an area with higher than average numbers of older people, and significant pockets of deprivation.

Flexible space providing greater efficiency

Jonathan Holmes, CEO Ashley House Plc the developer for BBG LIFT says “The facility has been designed with local residents and P+HS Architects to maximise flexibility in the use of space and drive greater efficiency across the local healthcare estate by housing two GP practices (names), 40 intermediary beds and a range of community mental health, diagnostic, out of hospital consultations and minor surgery services”.

This is one the first schemes that CHP has taken through to financial close since the restructure of the NHS, working closely with Greenwich CCG to complete the approvals process.

Speaking about the development, Dr Dermot Kenny, from Eltham Medical Practice said "We are delighted to be moving our practice into the new Community Hospital. We are sad to be leaving Court Yard after over fifty years but the opportunity was too good to miss. This development is the most significant in the South of the borough for many years and will be to the benefit of all residents of Eltham".