• Willow Therapy Unit

    Opening in 2024, our state-of-the-art, therapy centre will provide a comfortable and supportive rehabilitation environment for 48 patients.

In August 2023 the Department of Health and Social Care announced £250 million to boost NHS capacity with 900 new beds. Following a successful bid, Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C) was awarded funding to build a modular, 48 bed unit on the Norwich Community Hospital (NCH) site.

Following a naming competition open to local residents, patients, families and carers, as well as NCH&C staff, a vote to choose the unit’s name from shortlisted suggestions saw Willow Therapy Unit emerge as the overwhelming favourite.

Set to be completed in the summer of 2024, the location of the Willow Therapy Unit at NCH creates a strong link with Norfolk’s largest acute hospital, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The type of care provided at Willow Therapy Unit will help reduce the length of stay for patients and facilitate their seamless transition from hospital back into the community, reducing the risk of hospital readmission.

In this video, NCH&C CEO Matthew Winn, Healthwatch Norfolk’s Chief Executive Alex Stewart, and Willow Therapy Unit Lead Luciano Pitasi explain why the Willow Therapy Unit is such an important development for the Norfolk and Waveney health and care system.

What kind of care will patients receive at the Willow Therapy Unit?

A long stay in hospital can cause some people to become weaker, especially those who are elderly or frail. This is sometimes called deconditioning. That’s why it’s important we support people to continue their recovery out of hospital.

At the Willow Therapy Unit, we’ll help patients transition from acute hospitals back into the community.

Physiotherapists and occupational therapists will work closely alongside nursing staff and other members of the team to ensure patients are out of bed as much possible, using every opportunity to help them gain strength and confidence.

Exercises classes and other activities will be provided by local voluntary sector partners, helping patient recover faster. Interactive technology will be available to further aid patient rehabilitation.

The Willow Therapy Unit will be a 24/7 inpatient unit with appropriate nursing cover. Therapy staff will be available from 7am to 7.30pm, seven days a week – supporting faster recovery for patients and minimising the risk of deconditioning.

How will patients be involved in their recovery?

We know that supporting patients to be actively involved in their own care and treatment can improve both their health outcomes and their experience of staying at an inpatient facility.

That’s why patients at the Willow Therapy Unit will be supported to play an active role in their own care every day. Facilities such as an assessment kitchen and self-service café area, where patients can make drinks for themselves and their families, will help patients to leave the Willow Therapy Unit confident about performing simple daily activities when they leave.

If patients need technology like sensors to live independently in their own home when they leave, they’ll be shown how to use the equipment at the Willow Therapy Unit.

How will it benefit the local health and care system in Norfolk and Waveney?

The Willow Therapy Unit will increase the number of NHS beds available in Norfolk and Waveney. By providing a suitable destination for patients that are well enough to leave hospital, the Willow Therapy Unit will help reduce the demand for beds in local acute hospitals.

Focusing on helping patients get stronger and gain independence will reduce the likelihood that they will be admitted to hospital.

Temporary disruption at Norwich Community Hospital

The Willow Therapy Unit is being constructed using innovative off-site construction methods. This means that large deliveries are expected at Norwich Community Hospital.

Please check back soon for an update on the schedule of deliveries.

We apologise for any inconvenience during this period and thank you for your understanding.