Old hospital to be transformed into health & social care training centre
A doctor in scrubs with a stethescope and a tablet device

£19 million from the Levelling Up Fund is to be used to redevelop the former Bridgwater Hospital site in Somerset into a training centre of excellence for health and social care.

The site will be redeveloped into a new facility for developing the skills of the care sector workforce in Somerset.

The building will be remodelled to provide high-tech training spaces and meeting rooms. 

The front of the building will be preserved and a new two-storey structure will connect to the back.

The centre will include: health and care training rooms; specialist simulation training; an independent living centre, with occupational therapists supporting residents; and an NHS learning resource centre.

The former Hospital Lodge will also be turned into a children’s nursery to help people balance training with childcare responsibilities.

Cllr Ros Wyke, Executive Lead Member for Economic Development, Planning and Assets at Somerset Council, said: "This visionary training facility transcends more than regeneration; this investment is about a positive future and stands poised to become a beacon in health and social care training. Forging a path for cost effective training solutions, growing, and nurturing a skilled workforce. It aspires to be the cornerstone advancement of health and care in Somerset and a leader in this area."

A satellite academy will also be set up in Minehead, alongside an Independent Living Centre. It will have training rooms and flexible co-working space and specialist simulation and VR training facilities.

The academy will be part of the new Somerset Integrated Care System. 

The new new facilities will help deliver new qualifications in health and social care, including degrees and therefore, add new people into the health and social care workforce.

Jonathan Higman, Chief Executive of NHS Somerset, said: "Our NHS health and care workforce in Somerset will need to look different in the future if we are to continue to support people to live healthier lives for longer and also meet the health and care needs of our aging population.  The Training Academy represents an exciting development and will be a fantastic resource for the wider health and care system in Somerset, enabling us to train, develop and retain local people who want to work and volunteer in health and care in Somerset."