COMMERCE: South Tyneside Foundation Trust has won a 10 year local authority contract to run an integrated care services hub.

Under the deal, the trust will develop a £9m purpose built facility which aims to provide enhanced care services for older people.

The contract for the project was tendered by South Tyneside County Council and is supported by a £9.5m loan from the Department of Health’s independent trust finance facility.

This funding will help cover the cost of development which will include 30 beds and rooms for medical consultation.

A further 30 beds will also be available for people to live on site for pre-bookable respite care.

The council said the development was in response to the area’s growing ageing population, which is expected to rise from the current 18 per cent of the total population to 21 per cent by 2021.

Allan West, the council’s health and wellbeing lead, said: “The hub will join up a range of services, meaning older people and their families and carers can access all the support they need from one place.”

Council chief executive Martin Swales said: “As far as we understand it, this will be the biggest facility of its kind in the country.

“We are leading the way to break down barriers and create a new care system.”

The development will be built at South Tyneside District Hospital - subject to planning permission - and will have a separate entrance so it can be considered as a standalone facility.

Trust chief executive Lorraine Lambert describe the development as a “wonderful opportunity to work in partnership with the council and key health, social care and voluntary sector agencies to really drive forward improvements in joined up care for older people as we go forward”.

Construction on the facility is expected to begin in the winter with the aim to open in early 2016.

The DH last year selected South Tyneside as one of its 14 “integration pioneer” sites across England.