Spring Bank Court

Spring Bank Court in Blackburn is an extra care housing scheme for older people which opened in October 2007.  It was developed by Housing & Care 21 in partnership with Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and NHS Blackburn with Darwen PCT.  

The scheme provides 36 one bedroom and four two bedroom extra care apartments along with eight two bedroom bungalows for rent.  Eight two bedroom bungalows are also available on the same site for sale under a shared ownership basis.

In addition to the extra care facility, Spring Bank Court incorporates an NHS clinic to maximise the quality of the local community’s health through the prevention and management of various medical conditions.  

The clinic is accessed via the main entrance and is open and welcoming to encourage community use.  The service is advertised local and the weekly ‘no appointment necessary’ basis means that people can simply walk in and register to see a team of specialist clinicians. The service is not just about treating and educating clients in relation to illness and health, it is also about positive improvement of their well-being.

Healthy Leg Clinic

What really sets Spring Bank Court apart from other extra care schemes is the Day Support Unit for between 12 to 15 local community clients and the NHS clinic facility, which offers a variety of clinics, including The Healthy Leg Clinic.

The objectives of The Healthy Leg Clinic are to:

  • effectively treat a range of physical health issues related to legs
  • meet the psycho-social needs of those suffering from health issues related to legs
  • improve service quality and patient experience whilst delivering cost efficiencies

In the first three months of opening 420 clients were assessed, 72 of which were diagnosed with arterial disease.

Most patients have presented with fairly simple health problems that can be resolved in a friendly environment.  Several have had more serious conditions requiring urgent referral for potentially life saving treatment.  The service supports early detection of illness which helps to reduce the number of hospital admissions.  Users of the service are encouraged to adopt a coping strategy to manage their condition and meeting others with similar problems helps to combat feelings of isolation.

Spring Bank Court’s open access to services has helped the scheme develop as a hub within the local community.  For example, people may attend the clinic with a specific health need but will also us the other facilities at the Court, such as the: 

  • shop
  • restaurant/café
  • hairdressing salon.

Establishing such services locally has clear benefits to people in the wider community. These include:

  • combating social isolation: people return to the clinic without needing treatment, just to meet up with others
  • maximising the quality of the local community’s health by the proactive management of conditions
  • reducing the inappropriate use of hospital services
  • encouraging people to come forward sooner rather than later by delivering a service close to people's homes
  • helping people overcome any fear or apprehension by providing the service in the sociable and non-clinical setting of Spring Bank Court.

People with a variety of leg problems use the Healthy Leg Clinic, including those with varicose veins, aching, ulceration and swelling.

Academic research has shown that leg related illness can have a psychological impact on patients so it was important to develop a service not just focusing on the treatment of the physical illness, but also supporting psychological and social needs.  

The open access policy to the services provided at Spring Bank Court has helped make the scheme as a focal point within the community.  If attendees have a positive experience this will be passed on by word of mouth and more people will use the service.  In this way, the viability of all the services within the Court is greatly improved.

Cost Savings

A Department of Health case study in September 2008 found that the clinic achieved a potential saving of £235,560 in the treatment of lower limb ulceration. 

Issuing 244 patients at risk of ulceration with compression hosiery amounted to £7,320.  Add to this the clinic set up costs of £6000.00 brings the total outlay to £13,320.  However, the average costs of treating 244 people with lower limb ulceration could amount to £248,880 (or £1,020 per person).

Likewise, the treatment, management and prevention of peripheral arterial disease in 79 walk-in patients amounted to £27,334 (£346 per person).  However, the hospital costs of caring for 79 older patients with this diagnosis is estimated to amount to £369,404, giving a potential saving of £342,070.