Regenerating as never before

Held in the Trust’s imposing Wolfson Theatre, the Right Care, Right Here regeneration work stream event proved to be a most engaging and energetic morning, attracting a wide range of vested interests and representation.

Intended to use the commissioning and building of the Midland Metropolitan Hospital as a catalyst for local and regional regeneration, the initiative looks to develop workforce and community links which will see the Hospital deliver truly integrated healthcare.

Employment and housing are key to the aim of delivering healthcare by the community, for the community. A workforce drawn from the local area enables the Hospital to meet its core care provision, as required and appropriate. They will also be able to maintain a proportional work/life balance by reducing travel times.

Associate Director of Education, Learning & Development for the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, Jim Pollitt, gave a compelling presentation on the need to develop a sustainable workforce for the Midland Met Hospital and the various employment schemes that might be utilised - apprenticeships and blended learning options being just two.

He also looked at the value of ‘Live & Work Schemes’; how the future workforce can be encouraged to choose the Midland Met as the place where they will acquire professional and life skills.

An update on housing plans for the Smethwick and Ladywood area was given by Jacob Bonehill of Birmingham City Council. He emphasized the large investment being made into housing stock in the neighbourhood around the hospital.

There are more than 6,000 new homes planned, with parallel investment in retail and office space and employment - notwithstanding standalone initiatives such as the Edgbaston Reservoir plan and the Birmingham Cycle Revolution. All of this is underpinned by extensive public/private sector collaboration which seeks to make the footprint of the Hospital and its adjacent environs of Ladywood and Smethwick, a great place to live and work.

The development of the transport infrastructure by which we move from work to home and back, through which we shop, conduct leisure activities, socialise and more, was addressed by Yvonne Gilligan of Sustrans. Yvonne’s overview on the need to ensure investment in cycle paths, reliable bus transport and car share schemes was fascinating and echoed Conrad Parkes’ clear message, that we have an opportunity here to make a real difference.

Conrad Parkes

In an area where deprivation is higher than average and 28.3% of children live in poverty, we have an unrivalled chance to progress a regeneration agenda that capitalises upon investment in the Midland Met Hospital, whilst realising commensurate benefits in respect of enhanced healthy lifestyles for local people and an increase in economic wellbeing, as a result of locally employed NHS staff contributing to the adjacent micro-economy. 

Paul Southon’s analysis of how we ensure positive approaches to healthy eating was especially illuminating – the use of the Hospital campus for world food fairs and farmers’ markets being both inspired and telling. Stimulating awareness and debate on food, food production and the associated small scale enterprise would reinforce current SWBH Trust priorities around tackling the public health pressure of high levels of adult obesity and diabetes.  

A clear theme emerging from the delegates was that of community – of the need to engage, work with, resource and support local people so that they can make informed decisions about their own lifestyles and healthcare. The value added to this engagement by the voluntary sector was highlighted by Tracey O’Brien of the Birmingham Voluntary Sector Council (BVSC), who noted that at a time of diminishing state investment and significant local cuts, the third sector’s role was even more important.

Yet, for a sector that has arisen because, it could be argued, central government and business have failed, just 60% of BVSC’s members have paid staff.  In addition, over half of the members of the BVSC have reported an increase in demand for their services but, as a result of funding pressures, 53% are not confident of surviving the next 5 years. 

Tracey O'Brien

This is clearly worrying and a challenge that needs addressing by the Right Care, Right Here partnership. Indeed, is there an opportunity here to develop a new concordat with the voluntary sector? One that would see the Midland Met commission or buy in services from local third sector providers?

All of which would, in turn, ensure the local health economy is person-centred, user-led and that, ultimately, community and charitable organisations remain financially solvent. In essence, we’d be using the platform of the Midland Met to sustain vital and necessary voluntary sector provision.

An open session at the end of the event saw delegates further consider a number of pressing issues. Transport is clearly an important consideration – and always be – and the need for the Right Care, Right Here consortium to continue to monitor the development of the Hospital’s transport infrastructure was cited.

Looking forward, there are immense opportunities but also challenges. Maximising the potential of the Midland Met will require careful co-ordination and true collaboration as, more than just healthcare, it will be procuring local goods, and providing a hub for sport and leisure activity, a housing association and more. Careful planning will need to be the order of the day. 

December 2015 Update

It’s great to see the Right Care Right Here partnership building up a real momentum. Earlier this month we held the Executive meeting and there’s some great work happening, with partners having open and frank conversations around financial challenges, in the spirit of collaborating. All the workstreams are starting to make progress, with individual programme plans being developed. 

This month we’ve also refreshed our Right Care Right Here website, to bring it back up-to-date. If you have any feedback about our new website you can let us know by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

As a partnership we’ve purposefully set our vision for 2025, because we recognise the new hospital is only one part of our vision. To deliver the sustainable system we’ve all been working towards, we know there’s a lot of work that needs to happen before and beyond the hospital opening.

Midland Met Hospital
Earlier this month we reached a real landmark for local people as the Trust signed the contract for the building of the new Midland Met Hospital, which is the final hurdle.

After over 10 years hard work, it feels like an amazing early Christmas present. There’s no turning back now, and building work will start in January. Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust is organising an official stakeholder launch in January to mark 1,000 days to go until the new hospital opens, which will be a great start to a New Year.  

As the Trust has been able to sign the contract some four months earlier than first thought, it means the Midland Met can be handed over in July 2018 and open in October 2018. This is good news for our patients, with their state of the art hospital opening earlier than predicted. 

I'm sure you're also keen to see what the new building looks like; and the developer has produced a virtual 'fly-through' of the hospital on You Tube. The film lasts six minutes, and will give you a real idea of what the hospital will be like. 

Sandwell Deputy Mayor commemorates one year anniversary of local surgery

Deputy Mayor of Sandwell Council, Cllr Julie Webb, attended an afternoon tea event with patients and doctors to commemorate the first year anniversary of Portway Family Practice (formerly Tividale Family Practice).

The surgery’s new home at Portway Lifestyle Centre, Newbury Lane, Oldbury, falls under the health commissioner Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). The surgery delivers a full range of GP services for local people.

The centre is the first of its kind, bringing health, leisure and social care industries together under one roof - creating more opportunities for local residents to access integrated services.

Full Steam Ahead For New Midland Met Hospital

IT’S A GO for Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust patients, as the contract to build new hospital the Midland Met is finally signed.

Trust Chairman, Richard Samuda said: “Today we have signed the contract to build and deliver the Midland Met by October 2018 with ‘The Hospital Company’ – a Carillion Joint Venture.

“This is another landmark day for the people of Sandwell and West Birmingham, who now know for certain that their multi-million pound hospital will be built, and at a significantly lower cost than was originally planned. The OBC (outline business case) in 2014 anticipated an annual unitary payment of £27m, however we have closed the contract with an annual unitary payment of under £19.6m.

Approval granted for Midland Met Hospital

FINAL PLANNING APPROVAL was granted last night for the Midland Met new hospital on Grove Lane in Smethwick.

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council planning committee gave the multi-million pound hospital the green light to proceed on its brownfield site in the heart of Smethwick. This is the culmination of years of planning, consultation with the local population, and engagement with staff.