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Early success for Southwark’s new nursing care unit at Waterside Care Home

10 November 2023

Earlier this year, Southwark Council partnered with Agincare as the new care provider for four older people’s care homes in the borough. Now they are celebrating an increase in nursing and reablement care in the borough through the opening of the Avon Unit, part of Waterside Care Home in Peckham.

The Avon Unit has 17 bedrooms and spacious communal areas. It provides specialist support for:

  • people regaining their independence after a stay in hospital
  • people having their needs assessed for their longer-term care or to prevent hospital admission

The unit opened in July 2023. Since then, it has made a major impact on delayed hospital discharges. The unit helps people regain the ability to do things for themselves as they recover. Over 80 per cent of people who stayed in the unit returned home with reduced or no on-going care.

Social Worker Kayla Raif, David and Annette Griffiths, and Physio Steve Etchells

David Griffiths, a former patient at the Avon Unit, and his wife Annette were special guests at the official opening where they were reunited with physio Steve Etchells and social worker Kayla Raif, who supported his recovery.

David said: “I was used to walking over 5,000 steps a day but following an accident I was unable to walk at all. Even after seven weeks in hospital, my walking was severely limited and, thankfully, I was transferred to the Avon Unit. Everyone at the unit was extremely kind and worked together as a team to facilitate my recovery to become more and more independent.

“From the start, my physio Steve set goals for my rehabilitation which enabled me to walk out of the unit with the use of two sticks, whereas when I came in I could walk only 20 metres using a frame, and I’m still getting better and walking further every day.”

Since 2012, the number of care homes with nursing in England has decreased by around 300. This has resulted in a 12 per cent drop in the number of nursing care beds available. At Waterside Care Home, there are plans to further extend capacity. They will provide nursing care to a further 16 people, with this number growing in time.

From left Derek Luckhurst, Cllr Evelyn Akoto, and  Raina Summerson

Cllr Evelyn Akoto, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “In Southwark, we are bucking the national decline in the number of nursing care beds. They provide complex and specialist support that is vital to our social care ecosystem. The new Avon Unit means more joined up care for our residents with a real focus on them retaining their independence. We are delighted by the unit’s success so far; the product of expert care and close work between the council, Agincare and the local NHS.”

Raina Summerson, chief executive at Agincare, said: “Agincare is proud to work closely in partnership with Southwark Council and the South East London ICB to increase nursing capacity across the borough. As a leading care provider nationwide, we have over 35 years of experience of delivering high quality, personalised care in a wide range of settings, and look forward to developing our services to support local people in the area.”

Martin Wilkinson, chief operating officer at Partnership Southwark, said: “We’re pleased to see the opening of the Avon Unit. This type of nursing care bed provides a much needed and valuable link between hospital and care at home and will help to support people in Southwark on their journey to recovery. The home’s success with nursing care beds so far shows the value of partnership working and the benefits that we can unlock by working together through Partnership Southwark.”

Major workforce challenges have contributed towards the national reduction in nursing care capacity. The council recognised the need to set out how care home staff, including nurses, should be valued and supported in their work. Southwark Council’s Residential Care Charter is about achieving the highest standards for staff and residents.

Agincare have signed up to the charter with all four of their homes being compliant. In their latest staff survey:

  • 100 per cent of respondents would recommend Agincare as an employer to others
  • 100 per cent of respondents said they were happy working for Agincare and intended on staying with the organisation

Page last updated: 10 November 2023

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