THE future of a Cheshire hospital has been secured, thanks to a new partnership with the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Trust.

The Trustees of the Tarporley War Memorial Hospital (TWMH) have announced that they have agreed to work with the CoCH NHS Foundation Trust to enable the hospital to continue to provide services to the local community.

TWMH had previously reported it was "faced with a combination of unparalleled challenges" at the outset of the Covid pandemic, with rising operating costs.

Under the new agreement TWMH will become a rural hub for the Cheshire West Integrated Care Partnership Rapid Response and Hospital at Home teams (CWICP), allowing for closer working with GP practices and existing community teams.

The move comes as the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust aims to enhance service provision in more rural areas.

The new agreement will increase the amount of support available to people so that they can receive care and rehabilitation in their own homes, to either avoid being admitted to hospital, or to support them with an earlier discharge from hospital.

The Rapid Response Team enables people to receive care and rehabilitation in their own home. Patients could receive up to four visits a day from community nurses, therapists or rehabilitation assistants which means they can remain at home in familiar surroundings, or return home more quickly after a hospital stay.

Supporting patients at home treats people in a familiar environment with family and friends.

REACT Hospital at Home is a well-established service supporting patients who would otherwise need to go into hospital for their treatment. The service aims to respond to patients who are in crisis within the community, working closely with GPs, community teams and the ambulance service.

This team is provided in partnership between the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

The partnership with Tarporley War Memorial Hospital will enable improved access to Hospital at Home for patients living in the area.

The Countess of Chester Hospital is working closely with GP practices to ensure the existing outpatient services such as dressing clinics are still delivered at Tarporley War Memorial Hospital. The Countess will aim to move some consultant, diagnostic and therapy outpatients from Chester to Tarporley.

It is also hoped that the hospital could become a venue to provide education, support and rehabilitation for patients living with long-term conditions such as diabetes, lung and heart conditions and dementia.

As there will be no inpatient beds within the hospital, redundancy consultations are ongoing and will continue with the existing members of staff at the Tarporley War Memorial Hospital.

CWICP, however, will be looking to increase the number of staff across its teams, with therapy and community support workers, who would be able to provide care and rehabilitation for people within their own homes.

There has been significant collaboration across the healthcare system to bring this exciting new development together.

NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has supported this by working with the Countess and TWMH to explore the options for future healthcare delivery on the site. The CCG will also support the changes financially with the ongoing provision of a monetary grant.

Rachel Wright, chair of the Trustees, said: “We are pleased to have found a longer-term financial solution for the much-loved hospital that allows the facility to continue to provide healthcare services to the local community.”

Edward Timpson CBE, Member of Parliament for Eddisbury, added: “Ever since my great aunt was being cared for as an inpatient at Tarporley War Memorial Hospital in the 1980s, I’ve appreciated how lucky we are to have a local hospital in the heart of our community.

“That’s why it’s been a pleasure to work alongside its dedicated trustees and staff, to help ensure we continue to have locally-run healthcare services in our part of Cheshire—able to meet the future needs of local residents.

“I wish everyone in this new partnership all the very best.”