THANKS to the generosity of a local cricket hero and the collaboration of dedicated healthcare organisations, Woking Community Hospital was the first in the region to officially open an innovative new facility for the elderly on Friday.
The Bedser Hub has been developed using funds donated by the legendary Surrey and England bowler, Sir Alec Bedser, who grew up in Horsell and spent his last days being cared for by staff at the hospital before he died in 2010.
The initiative will give elderly, frail residents, such as 82-year-old Eileen Bliss from Woking, access to a range of healthcare and community services all in one place and closer to home, while reducing the number of visits to A&E and hospital
Woking MP Jonathan Lord was delighted to unveil the plaque. He told the News & Mail: “It was a great honour to be asked to officially open The Bedser Hub, where there was a tremendous buzz of excitement and anticipation.
“And it was wonderful to see so many organisations and individuals working in partnership. I believe this hub is showing us the future of preventative healthcare for the frail elderly, and it is great to see Woking leading the way with this innovative scheme.
“It is a lasting memorial to sporting achievements and a fitting tribute to Sir Alec Bedser. I congratulate the North West Surrey
Clinical Commissioning Group, Virgin Care, our GPs and all the other partners and organisations who are making this happen.”
The aim of the hub is to help older people live an independent and active life in the comfort of their own home within the community for as long as they are able.
Julia Ross, Chief Executive of the North West Surrey CCG, which is co-ordinating the initiative, explained: “As well as bringing together different parts of the NHS – from GP practices, community care, local acute hospitals and mental health providers – the project is also working with local authority, social care and voluntary sector colleagues to deliver the best possible
outcomes for some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”
GPs will refer patients aged 75 and over who have several health complications or long-term issues that impact their health and wellbeing to the hub, where they will be offered a comprehensive health ‘MOT’. They will be supported by a core team of doctors, community nurses, social workers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and other health and wellbeing professionals.
The resident will be allocated a personal Wellbeing Co-ordinator who will be their point of contact and organise all aspects of care, including home visits when necessary.
Records will be streamlined so that the experts directly involved with a patient can access information quickly. This saves patients having to repeat their history and avoids unnecessary appointments and tests. It means they can receive the best possible care in an emergency and be involved in decisions. They will also be able to see their own information.
Fundamental Woking has been selected to host the first of three locality hubs in the area because it has such an active, vibrant and diverse community.
Ms Ross said: “Our locality hubs are a fundamental part of our strategy as we work to improve the care and experience for our older population. The programme will give us access to valuable expertise and support.”
The hub also has a café for visitors, as well as a community space in which to take part in exercise or social activities.
Surrey County Cricket Club President, Pat Pocock, spoke about the Bedser sporting legend twins Eric and Sir Alec, while Friends of Woking Community Hospital Chairman, Jonathan Allan, said: “The trustees are delighted to be supporting
this project, using the Bedser Legacy (more than £350,000) to create a facility that Woking can be proud of.”
Other speakers included Jeremy Scroxton of the Patient Advisory Group, and Dr Niki Kirby, Clinical Director of Locality Hubs for the North West Surrey CCG.
Mr Lord concluded: “Everyone involved in this locality hub can be very proud of the progress so far and I have no doubt this innovative initiative will prove very successful.