Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and local home care provider Villa Care Group have signed an agreement to open the Bilberry Unit, a facility to provide 26 additional beds at Wharfedale Hospital in Otley for a six-month period as part of the Trust’s winter plan.
The beds are for existing older patients who have finished their acute episode of care at St James’s University Hospital or Leeds General Infirmary and are medically fit for discharge from the Trust, but are waiting whilst assessment or packages of care are put in place by alternative providers.
Nursing and care staff in the Bilberry Unit are being provided by Villa Care Group, while Leeds Teaching Hospitals therapy staff and local GPs will also support patients in the facility.
Professor Suzanne Hinchliffe, Chief Nurse and Deputy Chief Executive at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, said: “This is a very welcome development and we are very pleased to have secured the funding through the West Yorkshire Acceleration Zone – a new initiative looking at improving urgent and emergency care across the county – working in conjunction with our local CCGs and NHS Improvement.
“The Bilberry Unit will help free up beds at St James’s and Leeds General Infirmary to meet an increase in demand during the winter period, and will mean that patients who no longer need acute hospital care can continue to be well cared for in an excellent facility while arrangements are being put in place elsewhere.
Howard Taylor, Managing Director of Villa Care Group said: “We are pleased to be working in partnership with the Leeds Teaching Hospitals on this important initiative. This is a positive and innovative collaboration for the Trust and Leeds as a whole, and most importantly for the patients, who can benefit from a programme designed to advance them to the next stage of care.
“Wharfedale Hospital provides an excellent modern facility that is an important part of the area’s healthcare community, and this unit will enhance that role.”

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