Charity formed to support patients using step up/step down beds

A step up/step down bedroom at Sycamore Hall in Bainbridge.

A small charity has been launched to provide extra comfort and support for patients who are admitted to the new community NHS beds known as “step-up/step-down beds”.

Following a public consultation carried out by NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group (the CCG) last year, a number of beds were introduced across Hambleton and Richmondshire for patients needing some health care to either prevent them from having to go into hospital, or to provide patients with some further health care after a stay in hospital.

These beds, known as step-up/step-down beds were introduced as part of the CCG’s wider vision to provide health care as close to home as possible for a majority of the Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby areas.

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Step-up/step-down beds are a short stay arrangement in extra supported housing schemes, available for up to six weeks to deliver care closer to home. They can also be a preferred place of care for patients at end of life. The beds, medical equipment, basic furnishings and services are funded by the CCG and are located within extra care housing facilities.

To help make patients feel even more at home, a charity, which is called the Health Accommodation Trust (or HAT) has been set-up by CCG Health Engagement Network Representatives and local residents.

Jane Ritchie MBE.

Founding Trustee and CCG Health Engagement Network Representative from the Richmondshire area, Jane Ritchie MBE said: “In order to make the new accommodation as welcoming as possible for patients, their carers or families, non-medical equipment is also needed. This could be a sofa bed for a visiting relative, bedside lamp, pictures, wall clock, mirror or even a vase for flowers.

“We have therefore launched a new charity to help raise funds for these items. It is another way of supporting patients to live as happily and independently as possible within their own communities.

“The HAT welcomes any support from local residents or businesses and it’s important to know that any funds given to support specific accommodation will be ring-fenced for that flat.”

The charity has been set up with the help of Professor Richard Nolan from York University who said: “It’s very important that patients living in rural areas, who are a long way from hospital, have facilities for care much closer to home and family.”

Funding for the original facility at Sycamore Hall in Bainbridge has already received support from Richmondshire District Council, the North Riding Dales Licensed Victuallers Association, Central Dales Practice and a number of individuals.

Anyone interested in providing some support for the HAT should contact Jane Ritchie MBE via or calling 01609 767600.