A FORMER Hereford rehabilitation centre has reopened to help to relieve the pressure on the NHS during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

The Hillside Centre will provide patient care and rehabilitation services to some of the county’s most vulnerable residents.

Herefordshire Council said the 22 bed unit in Redhill, which is owned and managed by the council, has undergone a complete refurbishment to the highest standard.

It had been closed since April 2018, after Herefordshire’s Clinical Commissioning Group announced that they would remove the 22 beds from the centre in a bid to save money in November 2017.

Bringing the building back into use as a care facility is just the first positive step for the future of Hillside, as the council continues to explore further redevelopment options for the centre, a spokesperson said.

The council is looking to create a specialist facility that focuses on long term care for older members of the community who are living with aged related conditions, including individuals diagnosed with dementia.

The project also includes plans for a sensory garden for dementia patients, in memory of the popular Herefordshire councillor and Greyfriars GP, Dr Robin Andrews, who lost his battle with cancer in 2001.

Councillor Pauline Crockett, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Wellbeing said: “I’m extremely pleased that this important asset to the county is now open and will offer health and social care services to recovering hospital patients.

“I know that local residents are extremely fond of the Hillside site due to its musical history and the council’s investment means that it has been brought back to life and will now provide care and support for the most vulnerable members of our community.

“I have visited the centre myself and I was extremely impressed with the high quality of the facilities and this is down to the hard work of council staff and the Balfour Beatty Living Places contractors who have carried out a complete refurbishment programme in six weeks.

“I look forward to seeing the plans progress and for the centre to become a facility to support people living with dementia in the future.”