Whitby Hospital, North Yorks

The recent expansion of NHS Property Services’ (NHSPS) Healthy Places Programme has been marked with the release of its first ‘year in review.’ The report describes how the programme aims to deliver benefits to patients and service users. 

NHSPS’ Healthy Spaces programme is a multi-million-pound investment in upgraded and new spaces, with c. 150,000sqm of improved space across the NHS estate (58,500sqm) completed so far. The project will see over four million patients to benefit through our capital investment projects. 

The programme aims to deliver a more efficient NHS estate, with c. 80,000sqm vacant space removed for re-use or disposal, raising capital for reinvestment into priority sites across the NHS estate.  

In 2021 NHS Property Services expanded its Healthy Places programme, working with customers to identify 300 projects that would help transform the NHS estate, support integrated care systems (ICSs), and enable excellent patient care. Projects ranged from refurbishments and new builds, to accommodating social prescribing initiatives, estate optimisation and the repurposing of vacant space.  

The first two years of the programme have delivered over 170 projects, with significant milestones met on others including the submission of a business case to support the full completion of the programme. The newly published year in review report describes some of this in more detail, and includes key statistics, regional case studies and a forward view of the next steps for the Healthy Places programme.  

Simon Taylor, Portfolio Optimisation Director at NHS Property Services leads on the Healthy Places scheme, he said: “We are thrilled to have made such fantastic progress with our NHS colleagues across the first 300 projects and are very proud to share our ‘year in review’ brochure with customers and stakeholders to celebrate this success.  

“Healthy Places has been a real team effort so far and is a fantastic example of collaboration across the entire NHSPS business and with our customers/partners to deliver improvements for patients and the NHS workforce.” 

Healthy Places case study: Whitby Hospital, North Yorks

Completed in December 2021, Whitby Hospital in North Yorkshire (pictured above) has undergone a £13 million upgrade. The site was stripped back and reengineered, including a modernisation and remodelling of the existing ‘tower block’ structure which could then be used to consolidate services.

The new site accommodates a range of health and wellbeing services spanning dental, X-ray and ultrasound, urgent care, mental health, and an inpatient ward, as well as flexible workspaces for mobile units such as district nurses. The vacated space will eventually become extra care housing, creating a health and social care campus on an existing North East Transformation of Whitby Hospital, North Yorkshire, creating a new health and care hub site. Dementia friendly gardens have also been set up, which serve as social prescribing hubs and community spaces.  

Commenting on the development, Debbie Jenkins, Advanced Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist for Whitby Hosptial said: “For our patients, we have a much-improved clinical environment, where we can assess, treat, and manage them, using technology that will be more readily accessible to deliver a higher quality of care. Doing that in improved surroundings will give them the confidence that we are very experienced practitioners and that is reflected in the environment we’re treating them in. For our staff, after the shock and battle of Covid-19 this is exactly what we need to revitalise and reinvigorate our services.”  

Social prescribing hubs

As part of Healthy Places, NHSPS have developed 28 new social prescribing hubs across the country, building a national network of 50 sites, transforming vacant indoor and outdoor spaces into vibrant community hubs for voluntary and community organisations. Some examples include:

Redeveloping kitchen space at Axminster Hospital Devon, Project FOOD 

Project FOOD offers a programme of food education courses for young families and vulnerable people across Devon. To support their service, NHSPS brought void kitchen space back to life, expanding redevelopment of the hospital to create a safe and fit for purpose space for the charity.  

Converting Lindley House, Oldham, into a community hub for young mothers  

Working with Salford Baby Bank and Shared Health Foundation, NHSPS transformed this space into a community hub that provides practical support and guidance to young mothers and their children, and the wider community. NHSPS have created a storage and distribution area for baby parcels, and counselling/group rooms to provide counselling, breast feeding support, and other services to support mothers and children.