Wesham Rehabilitation Centre refurbishment 'well underway' at former hospital site which closed a decade ago

The refurbishment of a Wesham hopsital, which has been closed for ten years, is 'well underway' according to NHS bosses.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 4:36 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 4:38 pm

The former Wesham Hospital Rehabilitation site on Mowbreck Lane is set to become Wesham Rehabilitation Centre after plans submitted in August 2020 were given the green light.

It's expected the new centre will offer a new mental health 'pathway' that sits between acute care and community living. It will be run by Lancashire and South NHS Foundation Trust (LSCft).

When it opens early next year the 'community-facing rehabilitation service' will have 28 beds for people who have been in hospital and need some support to regain skills and confidence with everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning and looking after their own health and wellbeing.

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Health bosses and contractors met at the Mowbreck Lane site recently to look over the refurbishment

The centre aims to offer service users a 'holistic approach' including learning opportunities that help lead people towards 'happier and more fulfilling lives'.

LSCft is working alongside Healthcare Support and Infrastructure Services (HSIS), Frank Whittle and contractors Eric Wright to refurbish the old hospital unit, which had been vandalised and left neglected since its closure.

Both LSCft and HSIS have said they are building a 'close relationship with the Wesham community' with plans to involve locals in an autumn event to help officially name the centre.

Chief medical officer Dr David Fearnley and chief strategy officer Alex Heritage at the trust have recently visited staff involved in the development of the centre.

Mr Fearnleysaid: “We expect this site to bring some fantastic benefits to our service users, offering support for those who have been an inpatient, before they head back home. Helping people at this point is so important – a vital stage in their overall recovery and ability to stay well.

"The garden was particularly interesting, with very well thought out use of space and light. This is a very exciting project that will be a state of the art rehabilitation facility, in the heart of the Wesham community.”

Lesley Davison, HSIS project engagement lead said: “Wesham is a unique site and will provide a wonderful therapeutic space in a holistic environment. It has been thoughtfully designed with recovery at its core.”

LSCft said it will be advertising jobs for the centre shortly but it could not advise how many are expected to be employed at the site.

The former unit closed as part of a £6m savings review by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Trust in 2011, after only being opened eleven years prior.

The trust came under intense criticism for closing the rehabilitation centre nearly without consulting with people first.

An internal document revealed in 2012 that hospital bosses had sought legal advice to see whether they could shut the facility without asking for the public’s views. But they were told the scheme had to go out to public consultation.

Health chiefs insisted the moves were designed to streamline services and were not proposed to save money.

Bosses claimed the greater facilities at Clifton Hospital in St Annes would reduce time in hospital and more support would be offered to patients and their families within their homes.