Falkirk Community Hospital: Transformation will create 'seamless' care for patients

Plans to transform Falkirk Community Hospital will create "more joined up and seamless care" for people in the district, it has been promised.

Building work that had been due to start on older inpatient units - after they were identified as being a fire risk - has now been put on hold as more ambitious plans for the entire site are explored.

Since December, admission to four of the units had been paused, the number of patients gradually reduced and staff redeployed.

Now, the number of patients remaining in the block is in single figures and it is expected they will all have been discharged by the end of June.

Falkirk Community Hospital (Pic: Michael Gillen)

The empty wards had led some to fear that the hospital would close for good.

But last week, at NHS Forth Valley s board meeting, it was revealed thatit will be part of the Scottish Government’s new capital investment programme for upgrading or renewal.

That means they will have the means to create a masterplan for the entire site - and their aim is to improve and expand services, involving local staff, GP practices, NHS Forth Valley, Falkirk Health and Social Care staff and Falkirk Council.

Patricia Cassidy, director of the Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership said: “There are now real opportunities to look at how we could bring together a wider range of health, social care and community services together on the Falkirk Community Hospital site to create more joined up and seamless care for local people.

“This is really exciting for all of the partners involved and by working together we can develop high-quality services and facilities which meet the current and future health and care needs of local people.”

At the moment, Falkirk Community Hospital - formerly Falkirk Royal Infirmary - provides a range of outpatient, inpatient and day case services for local people.

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It also provides some services, such as ophthalmology, for patients from across Forth Valley and houses other support services and offices as well as a local GP Practice (Westburn Medical Practice).

The masterplan will look at how to make the best use of the site, located close to Falkirk town centre.

The proposal is that it will include a new-build intermediate care facility, which will provide support for people leaving hospital and help them regain their independence.

They also hope the site will provide additional theatre sessions to carry out thousands of extra eye operations each year.

The Westburn building has been earmarked as a new home for outpatient physiotherapy services for Falkirk people with musculoskeletal issues, which lost its base in Forth Valley Royal Hospital when the new urgent care centre opened.

The move will also free up space in FVRH to expand the centre which provides advice, care and treatment for people with urgent but not life-threatening illnesses and injuries.

Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, leader of Falkirk Council said: “It’s a very positive move to see this site being progressed as it will benefit our communities enormously.

"It has a real potential to enhance services locally and we look forward to working with our colleagues in social care and health in delivering something of real value.”

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