Whitehill & Bordon is set to become one of the healthiest towns in the UK - after being awarded ‘Healthy New Town’ status.
The town was one of 114 fiercely competing for the sought-after flagship health status, an NHS England programme, supported by Public Health England, which aims to design towns with health and wellbeing at their heart.
By designing towns in this way they will help prevent illness, encourage healthy lifestyle choices and enable people to remain independent to a much later age than at present.
It is anticipated that the Healthy New Towns will be nationally significant and will become the blueprint for how other areas across the country can focus more intensely on health - and by doing this help create healthier vibrant communities elsewhere.
The partnership, consisting of local NHS organisations, public health organisations, local government, voluntary sector partners and developers put forward the proposal for Whitehill & Bordon to be designated as a Healthy New Town.
The team attended a selection event with 15 other shortlisted towns on February 3, where it presented the proposal to a panel of experts including the Chair of NHS England, Sir Malcolm Grant CBE.
The Healthy New Town status will see various experts advise the partnership on creating a town which is as healthy as possible. This will include advice and support from national policymakers, global leaders in healthy built environments, cutting-edge designers, behavioural economists, leading academics, technologists and other innovators.
One aim of being a healthy new town is to speed up the time it takes to build new health facilities.
The support package, which the town will receive as part of the scheme, includes specialist input into the design of local health and care services, help to bring enterprise and innovators to the table, securing national sponsorship and designing technology-enabled ‘smart’ developments which support digital and mobile health.
Whitehill & Bordon is already planning for a state-of-the-art health campus in the new town centre as part of the town’s transformation with 3,350 new homes, 5,500 new jobs, new schools and new facilities. Some of the facilities the new health campus could include are:
* an extended primary care centre with GPs, specialist nurses, therapists, hospital consultants and pharmacists
* facilities and expertise to deal with minor injuries
* a dentist
* a leisure centre
* care-ready homes to help people lead independent lives
* a healthy living centre
* an education hub to train care professionals.
Cllr Ferris Cowper, Leader of East Hampshire District Council, said: “We are hugely excited to be selected as a Healthy New Town because this enables us to extend our ambitious green town vision so that Whitehill & Bordon is not only a green town but a green and healthy town.
“We are 100% committed to providing a state-of-the-art health campus in the new town centre – as well as making absolutely sure that health and wellbeing are at the heart of how the new development is designed. Our aim is to create a town where it makes it easy to make healthy choices and prevent illness so that this reduces the need for care and delivers care more effectively and efficiently when it is needed.”
Dr Anthony Leung, a Whitehill & Bordon GP who was instrumental in the success of the Healthy New Town bid, said: “Healthy New Town status will bring the political will, notice and support to Whitehill & Bordon. For so long now, residents have had to fight for attention and investment in healthcare. It is a rare opportunity to build in not only new facilities, but to design health into the core fabric of the new town.
“Freed from legacy constraints, we can work out how best to deliver services that our population needs. We have already been leading the way with bringing specialists into local surgeries so patients can be seen sooner and closer to home. We are working hard to improve access, figure out how we can use technology, and how we build strong communities that promote health and wellbeing.
“We will work other sectors such as education, social care, industry, voluntary groups, academia, research, and of course, patients, in designing this future and to secure commitment from government, payors and other providers. We want Whitehill & Bordon to be known for where healthcare innovation and excellence is to be found.”
Sara Tiller, Chief Development Officer for NHS South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group and the CCG’s Chase project director, said: “We are absolutely delighted by this fantastic news. It gives us a platform for moving forward to deliver our long-term goal of providing the local NHS services that the people of Whitehill & Bordon have told us they want and need at the heart of their community.
“The success of this bid clearly shows that our vision for the future health care needs of the local population - which has been worked up over a period of years with key local stakeholders - is now shared and reflected at a national level. This will really help put Whitehill & Bordon on the map.”
A great deal is happening behind the scenes to breathe new life into Chase Community Hospital.
The CCG wants to make the Chase a vibrant, thriving and sustainable NHS facility at the heart of its community, offering services wanted and needed by local residents.
It has already attracted new services to the site. Chase is one of the locations for the enhanced provision musculo-skeletal (MSK) and persistent pain service directly tendered by our CCG; and a new community ophthalmology service is available. Community midwives also now use Chase as a base location for their clinics.
NHS Southern Health Foundation Trust (SHFT), the main provider of community services in Hampshire, has moved more of its staff into the hospital from the nearby Elizabeth Dibben Centre.
These recent moves see all Southern Health’s services located under one roof within Chase Community Hospital. The moves include:
Gethin Hughes, Director of Integrated Services for SHFT said: “The hospital has the facilities and environment suitable for our staff to continue delivering quality mental and physical health care to people using our services. It’s easy to get to via public transport, offers free parking on site, and is such a familiar health care site for the population of Whitehill and Bordon.”
The move has also been welcomed by Dr Barbara Rushton, who chairs the CCG. She said: “It has been our intention for some time to increase the footfall into Chase and to increase the number and range of services available at the site. It’s also been a long-term ambition, now finally realised, to work with our colleagues at Southern to welcome all of their mental health teams to the site. Chase remains very much at the centre of our planning for local health provision.”