New care home will help ease pressure

A NEW complex to house elderly people will be a huge help to ease the bed problem at Ipswich Hospital, it has been revealed.More than £4million has been put aside to build a 32-bed intermediate care centre at Ravenswood.

A NEW complex to house elderly people will be a huge help to ease the bed problem at Ipswich Hospital, it has been revealed.

More than £4million has been put aside to build a 32-bed intermediate care centre at Ravenswood.

It means that elderly people who need medical care, but are not necessarily ill enough to be in hospital, can be looked after without taking up beds needed for more urgent cases.

Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for the hospital said that the majority of people treated at the Heath Road site are more than 65 years old.

However, there are no rehabilitation beds anywhere in Ipswich for patients who need recuperation rather than acute hospital care which means many people either have to stay in hospital or are taken as far afield as Felixstowe, Hartismere or Eye.

Ms Rowsell said: "It makes it very difficult for people to keep in touch.

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"At the moment there are no facilities in Ipswich and we are not siting elderly people as best we could.

"Ravenswood is well served by public transport and is a hugely welcome development from the Trust's point of view."

As well as being a place for people who are coming out of hospital, the Ravenswood development is also targeted for elderly people living alone who are not feeling well and need nursing support.

The outline proposals have been approved by Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority which gave Ipswich Primary Care Trust, the green light to press ahead with the development.

Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk County Council, Local Health Partnerships NHS Trust and the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust are all involved with the new scheme.

Work is due to start later this year and the unit is set to open in 2005 with 12 places in single and multi-occupancy flats for patients needing lower levels of support and 20 for patients with higher dependancy. There will also be communal therapy areas including day care.

Lilian Power, Chairman of Ipswich PCT said: "With the PCT approaching its first birthday, this is the latest example of the success Ipswich PCT has achieved over the last year.  With the local community already feeling the benefits of schemes such as Sure Start and the Expert Patient programmes, the intermediate care centre bid shows we are moving in the right direction and making a difference."

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