Building work to begin soon on pioneering rehabilitation unit

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CONSTRUCTION work is due to start next month in Yorkshire on a multi-million pound rehabilitation centre for patients battling serious injuries and illnesses which will employ groundbreaking treatments first pioneered in Holland.

The new facility has been planned throughout the last three years and it has been heralded as the biggest development at Montagu Hospital in Mexborough, near Doncaster, since the site opened at the turn of the 20th century.

It will be the first unit of its kind in the UK and it is hoped that the 58-bed centre, which will have a team of 25 full-time staff, will be opened in the summer of next year.

Demolition work will begin on Monday next week to prepare land for the rehabilitation centre, which will help patients suffering from a wide range of conditions adapt to cope with disabilities to ensure they can return home from hospital.

NHS chiefs will introduce techniques which were first used in the Netherlands more than a decade ago to tailor rehabilitation programmes to the individual needs of patients.

Talks have been held with Dutch colleagues to learn more about the bespoke treatments which are seen as instrumental in helping patients who have suffered injuries in road accidents as well as stroke and heart attack victims along with sufferers of multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. The unit will cater for a population of more than 410,000 spread across South Yorkshire, north Nottinghamshire, north-west Lincolnshire and north Derbyshire.

But the clinical director for therapies at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals, Chris Ellingworth, confirmed patients from across the country could also be referred to the centre to take advantage of its specialist care.

She also claimed the new development will strengthen a long-standing link with local communities after the hospital was established in the late 19th century with donations paid for by miners and their families.

Miss Ellingworth said: “This is a landmark for Montagu Hospital and it will provide a new facility that will help hundreds of patients every year. It is wonderful to think that we are giving something back to the community after the hospital itself was set up thanks to money provided by local people.

“Our vision is to make Montagu Hospital a shining example of the very best rehabilitative care available in the UK, with an ethos totally focused on enabling every patient to make the strongest possible recovery.”

The exact cost of the centre, which will be spread across a pair of two-storey blocks, has not been disclosed as it remains financially sensitive.

Health chiefs have already confirmed work is due to start on site by the end of the year, although a more detailed timescale has now been drawn up. The contract for building work will be awarded within the next few weeks before construction is hoped to begin by the end of November, according to Miss Ellingworth.

The director of facilities at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals and the director responsible for Montagu Hospital, Roy Tyson, said: “Montagu Hospital has a special place in the heart of the Mexborough community and we’re proud of that history. I’ve worked here for 44 years and have seen many changes in that time. It is fantastic to know that this new development will transform Montagu into the home of a service that is leading the way nationally.”

Plans to create the rehabilitation centre were approved in February following extensive public consultations. But the proposals provoked controversy as the creation of the rehabilitation unit meant moving “blue light” emergency services out of Mexborough to Doncaster.

Montagu Hospital is already home to services including day surgery, kidney dialysis and an outpatients unit as well as a pain management unit, rehabilitation wards and a minor injuries unit.