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National Rehabilitation Centre gets backing of the Notts Clinical Commissioning Group following wide-ranging public consultation

Leaders of the National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) Programme have welcomed news that the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has given its backing to the initiative following a wide-ranging public consultation this summer.

The decision takes the ambitious NRC Programme one step closer to securing all of the necessary permissions and approvals to build a bespoke new facility on the Stanford Hall Rehabilitation Estate near Loughborough where those who have suffered serious injury or illness can receive state-of-the art rehabilitation care.

Miriam Duffy, NRC Programme Director, says:

“The opportunity to establish the National Rehabilitation Centre is the most exciting initiative I have seen in 25 years of working in the NHS and it’s fantastic to secure the support of the regional CCG.

“This is a big initiative with a big potential prize, namely making sure we rehabilitate more people to return to work and life than we achieve in the NHS at the moment through timely and intensive specialist rehabilitation.  With the backing of our CCG, we can now start the important conversations with others in the NHS who need to be involved in deciding whether to give us the green light.”

The NRC Programme involves proposals to create a specialist 70-bed NHS facility alongside the new Defence rehabilitation centre (the ‘Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre’) which has already been built and started treating patients in late 2018, operated by the MoD.

The NRC would provide patient care focused primarily on treating patients within the NHS East Midlands region but with the potential to treat patients referred from elsewhere in the country.  Importantly, it would also combine, under one roof, specialist facilities for research and development (R&D) and innovation in rehabilitation treatment as well as facilities for teaching, education and to lead national improvements in rehabilitation.

The target is to be treating patients in 2024.

The decision to support the proposals for the NRC was taken by the Governing Body of the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG at a meeting held on 2 December.

With the support of the regional CCG now in place, the next step in decision making is to secure overall endorsement from the NHS.  This will involve the assessment of both a clinical case and a business case, with a decision anticipated in the first part of 2021.  

Amanda Sullivan, Accountable Officer, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG, says:

“This is an exciting opportunity for the NHS to transform rehabilitation services in our area, increase specialist bed capacity and provide access to excellent facilities and the latest equipment and technology to support patients in their rehabilitation journey.  

“The CCG gave its backing to this once-in-a-lifetime initiative following a wide-ranging public consultation this summer.  This bespoke new facility on the Stanford Hall Rehabilitation Estate will mean that those who have suffered serious injury or illness can receive state-of-the art rehabilitation care.  This is a very exciting body of work and we are looking forward to seeing the plans move into the next phase of development.”

Planning consent for the NRC is already in place and arrangements established for sharing facilities on the Stanford Hall Rehabilitation Estate, including providing access to specialist equipment within the MoD centre such as the CAREN (‘Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment’) which helps people to learn to walk again and to hydrotherapy pools.

The CCG decision was informed by the findings of a public consultation which took place between 27 July and 18 September and gave people the opportunity to express their opinions on the National Rehabilitation Centre proposals and the idea of transforming existing NHS rehabilitation services.

The NRC proposals are ultimately part of the overall DNRC programme which has always had at its core the ambition to improve treatment for those serving in the Armed Forces and those in the NHS.  It was the conviction of the 6th Duke of Westminster – who established the DNRC Programme and whose family have donated more than £100M to making it happen – that significant advances in clinical rehabilitation and improving the lives of those who suffer serious injury or illness could be achieved if a Defence and an NHS facility could be built side by side.  The result, it is hoped, would be both centres achieving far more by working together than would ever be achievable operating on their own.

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Media contact:

Emily Barnes, Ben Copithorne or Richard Pia at Camargue on 020 7636 7366 / dnrc@camargue.uk

About the National Rehabilitation Centre and the DNRC programme:

The idea for a civilian (National Rehabilitation Centre) facility was fundamental to the concept of the DNRC programme from the outset.

Sharing expertise and facilities to mutual benefit between Defence medicine and the NHS is acknowledged to be a way to improve the quality of outcomes for people who have experienced serious injury and would benefit from sophisticated clinical rehabilitation.

Getting people back to a meaningful life and capability following serious injury is a major policy area in Government.  It is acknowledged that return to work rates for people experiencing major trauma and serious injury in England lag behind rates achieved in other European countries as well as rates achieved in the Armed Forces.

There is planning permission for the National Rehabilitation Centre on a site 400m to the west of the Defence facility on the Stanford Hall Rehabilitation Estate.

The National Rehabilitation Centre programme is being led by Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, the formal NHS sponsor. 

This facility would be something entirely new – a place where patients, innovation, expertise and the physical space combine to push boundaries beyond that achieved in the field of clinical rehabilitation to date.  It should be viewed as a start-up and a flagship project in technology terms in the NHS transformation programme now underway.  The intention is that it will pave the way for similar clinical centres across NHS England. 

Under one roof it will: treat patients; train and educate significant numbers of staff in this field; and integrate industry, research and innovation in rehab to discover new practical solutions for patients.  It is also clear that there will be international dimensions to the work of the NRC.

In the October 2018 Budget, Government earmarked £70M to cover the construction cost of the patient care element – the other 2 elements of education and training and research and development will be sourced elsewhere. 

Co-located and working together, the Defence facility and the NHS (National) facility would share expertise, drive up standards, progress valuable research and potentially enable the field of rehabilitation medicine to progress to a whole new level. 

Key to the DNRC Programme ambition is that the whole would achieve far more than the sum of the parts.

Read the introduction to the National Rehabilitation Centre leaflet and find out more at www.thednrc.org.uk

The DNRC Programme is enabled by The Black Stork Charity – more details at: https://www.theblackstorkcharity.org.uk/