Step forward for National Rehabilitation Centre proposals

by Luke Stott

Step forward for National Rehabilitation Centre proposals

by Luke Stott

by Luke Stott

Leaders of the National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) Programme have welcomed news that the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has given its backing to the initiative following a wide-ranging public consultation this summer.

The decision takes the ambitious NRC Programme one step closer to securing all of the necessary permissions and approvals to build a bespoke new facility on the Stanford Hall Rehabilitation Estate near Loughborough where those who have suffered serious injury or illness can receive state-of-the art rehabilitation care.

Miriam Duffy, NRC Programme Director, says:

The opportunity to establish the National Rehabilitation Centre is the most exciting initiative I have seen in 25 years of working in the NHS and it’s fantastic to secure the support of the regional CCG. This is a big initiative with a big potential prize, namely making sure we rehabilitate more people to return to work and life than we achieve in the NHS at the moment through timely and intensive specialist rehabilitation. With the backing of our CCG, we can now start the important conversations with others in the NHS who need to be involved in deciding whether to give us the green light.

The NRC Programme involves proposals to create a specialist 70-bed NHS facility alongside the new Defence rehabilitation centre (the ‘Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre’) which has already been built and started treating patients in late 2018, operated by the MoD.

The NRC would provide patient care focused primarily on treating patients within the NHS East Midlands region but with the potential to treat patients referred from elsewhere in the country. Importantly, it would also combine, under one roof, specialist facilities for research and development (R&D) and innovation in rehabilitation treatment as well as facilities for teaching, education and to lead national improvements in rehabilitation.

The target is to be treating patients in 2024.

The decision to support the proposals for the NRC was taken by the Governing Body of the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG at a meeting held on 2 December.

With the support of the regional CCG now in place, the next step in decision making is to secure overall endorsement from the NHS. This will involve the assessment of both a clinical case and a business case, with a decision anticipated in the first part of 2021.

Amanda Sullivan, Accountable Officer, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG, says:

This is an exciting opportunity for the NHS to transform rehabilitation services in our area, increase specialist bed capacity and provide access to excellent facilities and the latest equipment and technology to support patients in their rehabilitation journey. The CCG gave its backing to this once-in-a-lifetime initiative following a wide-ranging public consultation this summer. This bespoke new facility on the Stanford Hall Rehabilitation Estate will mean that those who have suffered serious injury or illness can receive state-of-the art rehabilitation care. This is a very exciting body of work and we are looking forward to seeing the plans move into the next phase of development.

Planning consent for the NRC is already in place and arrangements established for sharing facilities on the Stanford Hall Rehabilitation Estate, including providing access to specialist equipment within the MoD centre such as the CAREN (‘Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment’) which helps people to learn to walk again and to hydrotherapy pools.

The CCG decision was informed by the findings of a public consultation which took place between 27 July and 18 September and gave people the opportunity to express their opinions on the National Rehabilitation Centre proposals and the idea of transforming existing NHS rehabilitation services.

The NRC proposals are ultimately part of the overall DNRC programme which has always had at its core the ambition to improve treatment for those serving in the Armed Forces and those in the NHS. It was the conviction of the 6th Duke of Westminster – who established the DNRC Programme and whose family have donated more than £100M to making it happen – that significant advances in clinical rehabilitation and improving the lives of those who suffer serious injury or illness could be achieved if a Defence and an NHS facility could be built side by side. The result, it is hoped, would be both centres achieving far more by working together than would ever be achievable operating on their own.

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