By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter
The new National Rehabilitation Centre has been hailed as a “massive opportunity” for Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands after it was given the green light by the Government.
The pioneering £105million centre will become the first of its kind in the country when it is built at Stanford on Soar in Nottinghamshire.
The 70-bed facility, close to the border with Leicestershire, aims to improve the lives of those who have been seriously injured or experienced debilitating illness.
It will be the first-ever NHS National Rehabilitation Centre.
The centre will be run by Nottingham University Hospitals and is being built on what is known as the Stanford Hall Rehabilitation Estate, already home to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre.
The construction of the centre aims to be complete by the end of 2024, with patients accepted from early 2025.
On September 21, the Government officially approved the plans, meaning that work can now start on the site.
NUH will be accountable for its services, which will treat people who have undergone significant traumas, have long-term conditions or who have life-threatening injuries.
The NRC is funded by a Government project called the New Hospitals Programme.
Miriam Duffy, NRC Programme Director at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “[The approval] gives us the go ahead to draw down the money to embark on the full construction of the building.
“We’ve already done some work to modify the road junction and build an access road so that has been completed. The base of the building has been constructed.
“There is a huge need for this, rehabilitation services haven’t been adequately invested into for a period of time. It’s a speciality which is poorly understood.
“It provides a unique and very important opportunity for people who have had a significant injury or serious illness who really need that intensive rehabilitation before they can go home.
“It enables people to return to work which is very helpful economically.
“It’s a massive opportunity for the East Midlands.”
The site will use “modern methods of construction” meaning that as much as possible is build off-site.
For example, a patient’s bedroom and bathroom will be delivered complete.
It will include gyms, assessment and treatment rooms, social space including dining, family accommodation and rehabilitation flats to better prepare patients for returning home.
There will be shared access to a hydrotherapy pool, computer-aided rehabilitation, a prosthetic limbs lab, and diagnostics which are provided by the DMRC.
The plans are also part of an academic partnership led by the University of Nottingham and Loughborough University.