New £1.2m Royal Lancaster Infirmary therapy unit officially opens

Lancaster mayor Coun Roger Mace cuts the ribbon to open the new unit.
Lancaster mayor Coun Roger Mace cuts the ribbon to open the new unit.

The new Therapies Outpatient Department at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, which houses all outpatient therapy services under the same roof for the first time, was officially opened by Lancaster mayor Coun Roger Mace.

More than 40 staff and guests from local healthcare organisations, universities and councils were given a tour of the department, based in the RLI’s Medical Unit 2.

Helen Brooker, Women’s Health Specialist Physiotherapist, UHMBT, said: “The new facilities are a nicer working environment for staff and as all of the therapy teams are now under the same roof there is a real community feel.

“The reaction from patients and staff upon visiting the unit so far has been entirely positive and we believe it provides an ideal environment to bring great care to the local community.”

Pearse Butler, chair at UHMBT, said: “I would like to thank everyone who came to show their support, and to all the staff who have been involved in the development and delivery of the facility.

“A great deal of work has been done by the capital design team and the therapy teams at the RLI with the modern, state-of-the-art department that allows patients to be seen in a purpose built unit which not only better meets patients’ needs, it also addresses previous concerns raised by the CQC.”

Work started on the department in August 2017, following a previous inspection from the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Outpatients (which the therapies department falls under) was rated Good, however, the CQC said that work should continue to ensure all premises used by the service provider are suitable for the purpose for which they are being used, particularly in relation to services provided from Medical Unit 1.

The new department offers various therapy outpatient services, such as physiotherapy, dietetics, orthotics, occupational therapy (including splinting) and wheelchair clinics.

The facilities in which these services will be provided include a multi-purpose gymnasium, 13 treatment cubicles, eight private treatment rooms, a patient assessment kitchen and bespoke IT equipment.

The department can accommodate up to 21 clinics running at any one time for services which are provided by UHMBT, with some clinics in partnership with other local care providers.

Last year, there were 19,318 therapy outpatient attendances at the RLI.