Physiotherapists, occupational therapists and dieticians are now working together under the same roof thanks to a £2m cash injection from University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) to refurbish, expand and redesign an area of the Royal Lancaster Infirmary’s (RLI) Medical Unit 2 into a therapies department.
The three teams, who were based in separate locations at the RLI, completed their move in June 2018.
Work started in January 2017 to create a multipurpose gymnasium, 13 treatment cubicles, eight treatment rooms providing more privacy, a patient assessment kitchen and bespoke IT equipment. The work was completed in November 2017 with an official opening taking place in January 2018.
The department can accommodate up to 21 clinics running at any one time for services which are provided by the Trust, with some clinics in partnership with other local care providers.
Last year, there were 19,318 therapy outpatient attendances at the RLI.
Wendy Harrison, Therapy Services Manager, UHMBT, said: “Patients and staff have commented on the positive experiences the Therapies Outpatient Department is now providing including the improvements seen from our previous facilities. The collaboration and understanding of staff across the Trust, including Therapies, Medicine teams, Estates and contractors and our patients during this period of time that involved temporary relocation of services and at times, elements of disruption were with the ultimate outcome being a department that is bright, welcoming, multifunctional to meets the needs of our patients and delivers an environment fit for the future.”
Recent patient feedback has included: “I can't believe the difference of the new department compared to the old department. It makes me enjoy coming to physiotherapy and actually makes me continue with my exercises more. I feel the service has a more modern feel to it compared to a dated experience.”
Cliff Elley, a Lancaster GP and GP Executive Lead, Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group, UHMBT, said: “There is no doubt that having all of these Therapy Services co-located will be of benefit to our patients; as a referrer to such services, our patients often require a multidisciplinary approach to best meet their needs and this will obviously be best and most conveniently done by having all such services located in one unit.”