A new masterplan is to be developed for Falkirk Community Hospital, which will set out how existing services could be developed, improved and expanded across the site.
This with be taken forward in partnership with local staff, GP practices, NHS Forth Valley, Falkirk Health and Social Care staff and Falkirk Council.
The hospital was identified as one of a number of community facilities in Scottish Government’s new capital investment programme for upgrading or renewal. Plans to develop a new intermediate care facility will be explored as part of the wider review of the hospital site, and there also plans to introduce additional theatre sessions at the hospital to carry out thousands of extra eye operations each year.
In addition, work is underway to transfer outpatient physiotherapy services for people with musculoskeletal issues from Forth Valley Royal Hospital to Falkirk Community Hospital, in line with the community-based arrangements in place for these services in the rest of Forth Valley. This will also free up space with the acute hospital to expand the new Urgent Care Centre which provides advice, care and treatment for people with urgent but not life-threatening illnesses and injuries.
Building work had been due to start shortly to improve the older inpatient units; however, this has now been paused to allow wider and more ambitious development plans to be explored as part of the site masterplan. Inpatient services had already been consolidated in a smaller number of inpatient areas to prepare for this work, and help minimise potential disruption.
A number of patients have also been successfully discharged or transferred to other community-based facilities which are able to provide short and longer-term care, assessment and rehabilitation support.
Cathie Cowan, Chief Executive, NHS Forth Valley, said: “We know how important Falkirk Community Hospital is to local staff, patients and the wider community and the Health Board is fully committed to the development of this important site.
“We had planned to carry out further maintenance and upgrading work on some of the older buildings this year but we now have the opportunity to develop much more ambitious plans for the site in partnership with our council and GP colleagues. This opportunity supports our commitment to more integrated ways of working with all our partners to deliver better and more equal outcomes for local people and communities.”
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.”
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.”
Further information on how people can get involved in developing the masterplan will be available in due course, via NHS Forth Valley.