Plans for a new wellness centre in Swansea city centre

Swansea Council, in partnership with Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABMU), has commissioned specialist healthcare advisors, IBI Group, to work on the feasibility of a new city centre wellness centre that aims to address future trends in healthcare (ARCH, 2017).

In a move to place as much emphasis on people’s wellbeing as on healthcare, the partners are seeking to examine how to create a state of the art wellness centre that also makes full use of the opportunities afforded by healthcare technology. The proposal will mean Swansea city centre residents can combine a trip to see their GP with the use of a wide range of non-clinical services that can support health and wellbeing in a drive to encourage individuals to take greater care of their health.

The IBI Group are looking at a range of city centre locations which are currently being scored as part of the feasibility study. IBI are providing expert advice on what the wellness centre could contain, as well as the viability, preferred location, and delivery options for the proposal is IBI Group, which has a track record in the development of innovative health and wellbeing centres across the UK.

The new facility would be an integrated development which could include facilities such as a GP services, community healthcare, services from the third sector, a satellite facility from Swansea University’s Institute of Life Science, and an education and skills development centre.

Justin Harris, IBI Group studio principal, said “Pressures on our healthcare systems are increasing due to rapid population growth and rising costs. Therefore, we need to create environments that enable the right care at the right time, and most importantly support lifestyles that promote mental and physical wellbeing. The Swansea Wellness Centre will offer visitors a choice to how they manage their health, and for staff, a high-quality environment to better deliver support to the community.”

An alliance of local agencies called Swansea Public Services Board (PSB) will be helping to shape the proposals. The board includes Swansea Council, ABMU and ARCH (A Regional Collaboration for Health). The proposals will look to address the long-term wellbeing of the population and will form part of Swansea’s wider regeneration plans, and the Welsh Government’s Vibrant and Viable Places scheme.

Professor Hamish Laing, ABMU medical director and ARCH board member, said “We want to provide our citizens with fit-for-purpose, modern healthcare service that is built on the ethos of prevention and early intervention. Moreover, we want to give everyone the opportunity to place personal health and wellbeing at the heart of their daily routine.”

ARCH is a partnership between ABMU Health Board, Hywel Dda University Health Board and Swansea University, aimed at improving the health, wealth and wellbeing of the people living in South West Wales. It was formed to tackle many of the major challenges the health service faces on a daily basis.

Siân Harrop-Griffiths, ABMU director of strategy and ARCH board member, said “We are pleased to see this Swansea wellness project moving forward with the appointment of IBI Group. This centre will be part of a wider regional network of ARCH health and wellbeing schemes being developed across the whole of South West Wales including the Llanelli Wellness & Life Science Village in Delta Lakes which is being led by Carmarthenshire Council.

“Too many people in our region die younger than in other parts of the UK. We also have an ageing population, often with complex needs and we are facing significant service challenges. Too many people are currently treated in hospitals when their needs could be better met elsewhere. With our health service facing unprecedented challenges, there is a clear need for us to fundamentally rethink our clinical models of care.

“These schemes will allow people to access the care and support they need in their communities and help ensure demand is better managed across the whole care system. They will also regenerate areas and breathe life back into communities, providing improved educational and employment opportunities – the two most powerful determinants of health.”

IBI Group are due to report their findings to Welsh Government by the end of June.

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