The Tipton area of Sandwell contains some of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in England. Local residents face significant challenges from the cradle to the grave. At one end of the age spectrum, one in four children at school year six is classified as obese with lack of regular exercise a key contributor. There are higher than average numbers of teenage pregnancies. Smoking during pregnancy and the reluctance of mums to breastfeed are real issues.
At the other end of the age spectrum, while the number of local people dying prematurely from cancers, heart disease and strokes has fallen over the last ten years, life expectancy for both men and women is well below the national average. In some neighbourhoods, life expectancy is the lowest of any area in the West Midlands.
Sandwell’s Public Health team identified tackling alcohol-related illness, early years and adolescent health, frail elderly care, dementia, long-term conditions and the need for integrated services as key priorities for health and care provision.
The challenge faced by health and care commissioners was to provide local residents with the support they needed to break the hold that health inequality and disadvantage had on their lives. There was a need to widen the range of health and care services that were easily accessible – especially services that gave every child the best possible start in life and that supported people in making vital lifestyle choices.
Two notorious 1960s tower blocks on the Glebefields Estate – Jellicoe House and Beatty House – were finally demolished in 2004.
Find out how health and care commissioners took advantage of the opportunity that the site offered to improve the lives of local residents.
Our Right Care Right Here response
Jellicoe House and Beatty House were local landmarks for all the wrong reasons.
Glebefields Neighbourhood Health Centre, which now occupies the site where the tower blocks stood, has become a local landmark for all the right reasons.
The striking two-storey building was the result of collaboration between Sandwell Primary Care Trust, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council and LiftCO, a public/private partnership that designs, funds and builds new public buildings. The scheme represents a £6.5 million investment in improving the range and quality of local health and care services for a patient population of around 35,000.
Glebefields opened in Autumn 2011 and provided a much-needed new home for health visitors, district nurses and school nurses allowing them to become embedded in the communities they serve. Through the range of services that the centre provides under one roof, local people can access services on their doorstep that previously required inconvenient journeys to hospital sites.
The services on offer include:
- GP services
- State of the art dental facilities
- A new community podiatry service
- Speech and language therapy
- District nurses covering the local population
- School nurses covering local schools
- Health visitors
- A minor injuries unit offering an alternative to A&E
- Marie Stopes services including pregnancy advice, HIV and chlamydia screening
- Healthy lifestyle advice and support.