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Willow Therapy Unit passes significant milestone with full planning permission


Plans to create additional bed capacity in Norfolk and Waveney and ease the transition for patients moving from local hospitals back into the community have taken a significant step forward, with full planning permission granted for the development of a 48-bed modular unit on the Norwich Community Hospital site on Bowthorpe Road.

The location of the Willow Therapy Unit, close to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), will help free up beds in the acute hospital.

At the new unit, a focus on active, out-of-bed care will help prevent patients deconditioning, or further deconditioning, reducing the risk of hospital readmission. Patients will be supported to play a part in their own care and gain the confidence to undertake simple daily activities.

Facilities including an assessment kitchen and self-service café area where patients can make drinks for themselves and their families, will help ensure patients are equipped to leave the Willow Therapy Unit confident in their independence.

Healthcare will be delivered by a team of therapists, nurses and other clinical professionals dedicated to patient recovery and well-being. Staff will work closely together, collaborating to help minimise the length of stay for patients.

The project, which is supported by the Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board (ICB), is set to be completed in the summer of 2024.

Matthew Winn, CEO of NCH&C, said: “The Willow Therapy Unit at Norwich Community Hospital will significantly enhance our commitment to delivering patient-centred care in Norfolk and Waveney.

“With full planning permission, delivery and construction of this cutting-edge modular building can progress, and we look forward to welcoming the first patients to the Willow Therapy Unit later this year.”

Industrialised construction and manufacturing specialist Merit is fabricating the Willow Therapy Unit offsite in Northumberland. This innovative approach will reduce the project timeline by approximately two-thirds compared to conventional construction methods.

Tony Wells, CEO at Merit said: “We’re delighted to be working collaboratively with Norfolk Community Health & Care NHS Trust to deliver this new facility, which will bring improved healthcare services to the local community.

“At Merit, sustainability is at the heart of everything we do and we are very proud as we continue to optimise our product offering, so that we can provide the go-to choice for swift and efficient project delivery.”


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