Our plans for a new Health and Wellbeing Centre in the middle of St Albans

Posted: October 2 2018

Our plans for a new Health and Wellbeing Centre in the middle of St Albans

We are working with St Albans City and District Council to open a new health and wellbeing centre in St Albans Civic Centre. We held an engagement event 13th September to hear the views of people using HCT services as well as other interested groups and organisations. The attendees heard about our exciting plans for this centre, which we are planning to open in July 2019. Below are some of the question they asked, and our responses.

Will there be an accessible changing area? The plans were reviewed at the end of the meeting - we would not be able to provide such a space within our current demise, without compromising the clinical areas. Operationally, should a member of the public present themselves at the building for NHS or civic services that required a specialist area to change, they would be directed to this safe and comfortable space fitted with the right equipment, including a height adjustable changing bench and a hoist.

Will there be a self-check in facility? Yes, on each floor.
Where will staff do their admin work? There will be an area for staff to complete their record-keeping but staff will not be based there. Office staff are concentrated into specific bases e.g. Sandridge Gate.
What would happen if a problem occurred with a patient or relative in the waiting room? Who would deal with the patient? There will be an emergency call bell in the waiting rooms - staff running clinics and reception staff would help and an operating procedure will be in place for this should it occur. We are working in partnership with St Albans District Council regarding the "What if" - e.g. if a member of of distressed, becomes aggressive.
What is the plan for climate control (particularly regarding audiology as it could be loud)? The building will have climate control. We are aware that at the Marlowes Health and Wellbeing Centre it is managed centrally and staff in one area are note able to control the temperature in specific areas. Engineers are looking into this.
Will the waiting room be big enough? We have worked our how long people will wait for each clinic, taking into account the nature of the clinic. There will also be security access.
How many members of staff will be operating in the building at a time? Approximately 12.
What is there for children in the waiting room? We are considering what can be fitted into the waiting room.
Have we learnt from other projects of similar nature? Yes. During the development of the Marlowes Health and Wellbeing Centre we listened to feedback from service users which were incorporated in service design. We also produced a "You Said, We Answered" information sheet.
What about acts of aggression from patients? Have you considered pull cords on staff badges? Our PALMS service (Positive behaviour, Autism, Learning Disability and Mental health Service) already have pull cords. Fortunately incidents are very low across the Trust. The HCT Health and Safety Officer has been consulted.

We meet regularly with St Albans District Council at our operational steering group. We are looking at functions such as fire alarms.
What happens if people are brought in on a stretcher? An entrance has already been identified.
You referred to ambulance drop off? We mean ambulance transport to the centre, not emergency services.
The family planning clinic was at the Principal Health Centre - where have they gone? Family Planning was not provided by HCT. We have liaised with the Central London Community Health Trust (CLCH) who provide this. There is a clinic at St Albans City Hospital.
Will clinical quality care be compromised by moving the clinics from SACH? Not at all. We will provide an enhanced environment. Staff have very clear about what they need in order to provide optimum care for their patients. Kiers plans have been altered as a result to ensure it meets the patients' needs.
What are the time frames?  - Sign off on plan
 - Construction partners provide the cost
 - Board ratifies cost
 - This needs to be done by January.
 - We want to start construction at the end of January and open by July 2019.
How can voluntary organisations get involves? Drop in sessions such as Mind and diabetes. There is potential for using a large hall for this.


We also discussed the artwork and colour schemes for the centre:

  • Colour scheme linked to nature
  • Hertfordshire County Council have some artworks to give away which are currently in storage
  • Arts on Prescription could potentially be involved to offer art workshops for people experiencing depression, anxiety and/or other mental health problems
  • We have a small aquarium at the Marlowes Health and Wellbeing Centre which works well and is very popular with children
  • Involve schools, West Herts College and the University of Hertfordshire

If you are a journalist or media representative requiring further information contact our communications team on (01707) 388148 or via communications@hct.nhs.uk