New �8m Norwich stroke unit opens

Dan GrimmerA new dedicated stroke unit which is set to provide specialist help to hundreds of Norfolk patients has opened its doors in NorwichDan Grimmer

A new dedicated stroke unit which is set to provide specialist help to hundreds of Norfolk patients has opened its doors.

The first three patients were admitted yesterday to the �8m unit which will help people benefit every year from improved services aimed at helping them recover from the effects of stroke.

The Mulberry Rehabilitation Unit, at Norwich Community Hospital on Bowthorpe Road, now houses the 24-bedded Beech Stroke Rehabilitation Ward and the 24-bedded Alder General Rehabilitation Ward and will also offer care for patients who are well enough to move on from an acute hospital bed, but possibly not yet recovered enough to return home.

Patients primarily from the central Norfolk area - encompassing Norwich, South and North Norfolk - will be admitted to the stroke rehab ward.

Funded by NHS Norfolk the unit is the single biggest investment in any capital scheme since the primary care trust was established in 2006.

Dr Ian Mack, chairman of NHS Norfolk's clinical executive and clinical lead on stroke, said: 'This new, purpose-built facility demonstrates a major investment in the care and welfare of our patients, and it is part of our commitment to aid in the recovery of those patients after operations or acute hospital stays, and to reduce the risk of disabilities from traumatic events such as stroke.

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'NHS Norfolk made a promise to deliver a dedicated stroke unit for our patients and even better general rehabilitation facilities.'

Val Macqueen, acting director of adult services for NCH&C, said: 'This new rehabilitation centre will provide even more excellent services, within improved, purpose-built facilities for patients.

'The real success of the services within these modern surroundings will rest in the hands of the committed teams of people who will add their professionalism and dedication to making these healthcare services even better.'

Clinicians were involved in informing the design of the new facility which has been built to current infection control and environmental standards. Each ward consists of:

- 4 x four-bedded bays

- 6 x single-bed rooms

- 1 x two-bedded bay

- Bariatric rooms for obese patients

All have en-suite bathrooms and all are in a single-sex ward layout. In addition there is a new therapeutic gymnasium, a therapeutic kitchen and purpose-built staff facilities.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in partnership with Norfolk Community Health & Care (NHC&C), will manage the new stroke ward, with NCH&C providing services and staff.

Patients in the west of the county will continue to be referred to rehabilitation units and services already established at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King's Lynn.