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New Wheal Vor Ward relieves operational pressures at the Royal Cornwall Hospital this winter

This page was last updated: January 25th, 2022

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust (RCHT) has opened a new ward at its Treliske site in Truro. The extra 28 beds on Wheal Vor Ward have been provided to deliver a new and important model of care to benefit the wider health and social care system in Cornwall.
Wheal Vor Ward is an intermediate care ward – delivering transitional care as patients recover from acute or specialist care in hospital before they are discharged. Wheal Vor Ward is dedicated to caring for people living with frailty and who require ongoing assessment and reablement prior to discharge, either home or to another community setting.

The ward is situated in the new Tremenel Unit, located between the Tower Block and the Princess Alexandra Wing. It will help to ease pressure on the Emergency Department by increasing the number of beds available for patients who have finished their acute phase of care and releasing beds in other parts of the hospital.

Built in record time over the last 18 weeks, Wheal Vor Ward is being supported by a dedicated core team of nurses and therapists, specially trained to deliver personal care and treatment plans and a range of therapies to maximise patients’ recovery, independence and autonomy.

This model of care also supports the training of new, dedicated, Health Care Support Workers via an Apprenticeship route, or via the wider recruitment of people looking for a new career within the healthcare sector. Trainee Health Care Support Workers are supervised on Wheal Vor Ward by the core care team whilst they undertake a six-week ‘Introduction to Care’ course.

Once the course is completed, the new Health Care Support Workers receive a National Care Certificate which provides them with opportunities to work elsewhere within the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, or across the NHS and care sector in Cornwall.

“It’s been brilliant to see the rapid build and fit out of Wheal Vor Ward, and to have support for this innovative concept of an ’intermediate care’ ward for our older patients living with frailty.

We’re also delighted the new ward is a training centre for Health Care Support Workers – a first for Cornwall – which will provide significant benefits for this invaluable workforce,” said Frazer Underwood, Associate Clinical Professor and Consultant Nurse in Older Peoples’ Care at RCHT, who has masterminded the new model of care.

“Patient outcomes will be improved through the use of personal care plans that promote and encourage their independence as they progress towards discharge. Cornwall’s wider care system will also benefit from a streamlined recruiting and training pathway for new healthcare support workers, whilst the hospital will benefit from reduced waiting times for patients arriving in the Emergency Department.”

“The speed in constructing and commissioning this new ward, in time for the anticipated winter surge, has been incredible,” added RCHT Head of Hospital Reconfiguration, Roberta Fuller.

“Everyone working on the project has been dedicated to making this building a success. The project, construction and operational teams have worked extremely hard over the past four months, doing double shifts and overtime, to cover up to 20 hours a day to deliver this new building.

Watching the ward go from an empty shell to full fit out has been inspiring, in terms of what can be accomplished when everyone works in partnership. The benefit of these extra beds, to support the wider health system in providing the best possible care, should not be underestimated. I am really proud of the finished product.”

Wheal Vor ward bed bay David Snell, Strategic Healthcare Director for Kier Construction, RCHT’s Principal Supply Chain Partner for this project also commented: “The superb collaboration with the team at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, as well as the dedication of our own people and local supply chain partners, has enabled the successful delivery of Wheal Vor Ward.

Working together, the teams have delivered this high-quality facility to support the hospital with the exceptional care they provide.”

Now that Wheal Vor Ward is officially open, Kier Construction and the RCHT’s Strategic Estates team is continuing to fit out the ground floor of the Tremenel Unit, ready for occupation this spring. The ground floor will include a new location for the Patient Blood Management Service, and space to relocate Lowen Ward, the hospital’s Haematology and Oncology Inpatient Unit.

Added on 24 January 2022, in News - General News

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